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PPL begins celebration of 100 years of utility history

PPL Corp., which began in a small part of its native state and now extends over two continents, is kicking off the year-long celebration of its centennial this year.

The Pennsylvania-based utility holding company began in 1920 with the consolidation of eight electric utilities in the central and eastern regions of the state. Then called Pennsylvania Power & Light, it owned and operated 62 power plants.

Fast-forward 100 years and PPL now owns PPL Electric Utilities, Louisville Gas & Electric, Kentucky Utilities and Western Power Distribution in the United Kingdom. Overall the company has more than 10 million customers.

“PPL’s 100-year history is rich with growth and success, but it is nothing without the thousands of dedicated employees – past and present – who have powered progress in our cities, towns and communities,” said William H. Spence, PPL chairman and chief executive officer. “We’re proud of their legacy, we’re thankful for the opportunity we have each day to make a difference in our customers’ lives, and we are driven by the opportunity we have to help shape our shared energy future.”

A new website was launched to highlight the centennial and company history. In the 1920s, the website noted, the consolidations of power plants to form PPL was later echoed by many mergers within the industry up to now.

By 1981, PPL’s revenue topped $1 billion for the first time ever and doubled that figure only five years later. A decade later, various regulatory changes and restructuring pushed PPL out of pure regulated monopoly environments into competitive markets.

PPL is currently in the midst of a $15 billion Energy Forward capital investment plan through 2022. It operates close to 8 GW of generating capacity mainly from natural gas, coal and oil-fueled plants.

The company also owns Safari Energy, a solar provider for commercial customers.