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Public Utilities

As needs for services grew, American Power and Light Company—a large utility holding


Employees with a truck of the Florida Power

and Light Company, 1920s. Courtesy Florida

State Archives.

company related to General Electric—bought up small enterprises serving parts of Florida’s growing population. The local enterprises included water, gas, fish, telephone, sawmill, and streetcar companies, electric generating plants, a steam laundry, an ice factory, a limestone quarry, a sponge fishing boat, and 35 mules and wagons. At the end of 1925, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) was formed as part of American Power and Light, by consolidating the smaller companies.

When FPL began, it served 76,000 electric and gas accounts in 58 communities, at an average residential price of 8 cents per kilowatt hour. Soon came the hurricanes of 1926 and 1928, the stock market crash, and the Depression, when FPL faced many challenges. Customers stopped paying their electric bills, though the minimum monthly bill was one dollar. The company laid off some employees and reduced the pay of the rest. In 1933 FPL shareholders received no dividends. But by 1939, FPL was serving 159,700 accounts and had doubled its original generating capacity.

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