FITCHBURG, Mass., May 9, 2002 — On May 13, 2002, Unitil Corp. will mark the 150th birthday of its subsidiary, Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Co. (FG&E).
Founded on May 13,1852, as the Fitchburg Gas Company, the Company’s initial mission was to supply downtown Fitchburg with gas for its street lights.
Gas was first let into the mains on December 15, 1853, and has been flowing to this day. In 1889, (ten years after Thomas Edison’s invention of the first practical electric light) the Company decided to embrace a new technology called electricity by merging with Wachusett Electric Light Company.
Businessman Henry F. Coggshall, one of the founding directors of FG&E, thought electricity so new and unknown that it’s “perhaps unwise to take hold of it.” But the Company did, and in 1895 adopted the name of Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company.
The need for both gas and electric energy increased over the years as businesses such as Fitchburg Paper, Burbank Mill, Simonds Manufacturing, Arden Mills and the Putnam Machine Shop grew and prospered. In 1973, FG&E purchased the former Gardner Gas, Fuel and Light Company and the Gardner Pipeline Company.
During its 150 years, FGE has gone from serving a handful of customers (in 1895 it had two electric customers) to 40,000 today. Its service territory has expanded from downtown Fitchburg to the communities of Ashby, Gardner, Lunenburg, Townsend and Westminster. The Company has also continuously modernized and upgraded its gas and electric distribution systems, so customers receive their energy efficiently, safely and economically.
In 1992, FG&E merged with Unitil Corporation of Hampton, NH. Since then it has invested heavily in its gas and electric system and worked to improve reliability and service.
“While many things have changed over the last 150 years, our commitment to the community is stronger than ever.” Said Unitil CEO Bob Schoenberger. “We look forward to continuing to work with our customers and community leaders to build on the strength and vibrancy of this community and to ensure its continued prosperity.”
Celebrations of FG&E’s 150th birthday are being planned by Unitil/FGE, to take place through June. Events include a party for retired and current employees, a safety awareness coloring contest open to first graders in the communities we serve, and a community reception to raise funds for the Literacy Fund, a part of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts. Unitil/FG&E has pledged to match up to $10,000 in donations to the fund.
Unitil is a public utility holding company with subsidiaries providing electric service in New Hampshire, electric and gas service in Massachusetts and energy services throughout the Northeast. Additional information is available at www.unitil.com. Unitil’s subsidiaries include Concord Electric
Company, Exeter & Hampton Electric Company, Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company, Unitil Power Corp., Unitil Realty Corp., Unitil Service Corp. and its unregulated business segment Unitil Resources, Inc. Usource L.L.C. is a subsidiary of Unitil Resources, Inc. The Usource product line is available at www.usourceonline.com.