Since 1905, through its subsidiaries and predecessors, ENMAX Corporation has provided electricity to Calgarians. As part of Alberta’s deregulation of the electricity industry, ENMAX began operating in 1998 as an independent wholly owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary.
In 1889, five years after becoming a town, Calgary began using electricity and powered its way to become a booming city in 1894.
Two companies provided the electricity: The Calgary Electric Lighting Company (Calgary Electric) and the Calgary Water Power Company Limited (Calgary Water Power). Both companies were contracted by the municipal government to provide streetlights, resulting in head-to-head competition.
After five years of operation, Calgary Electric closed in 1894. Calgary Water Power continued to serve its customers in Calgary's downtown area.
In 1904, The City of Calgary built its own electric plant. The plant began operating on December 2, 1905 as The City of Calgary Electric System.
The City of Calgary Electric System operated several small coal-fired power plants in its first two decades. In 1911, it began to purchase power from Calgary Power Limited (Calgary Power), a private electric-generating company that later acquired Calgary Water Power in 1928. Today, Calgary Power is known as TransAlta Corporation.
In 1928, The City of Calgary Electric System stopped generating its own electricity and began buying its electricity supply from a wholesaler. The company focused its efforts on transmission and distribution and became the exclusive distributor of electricity in Calgary and surrounding areas.
The electricity industry in Alberta changed in the 1990s with deregulation—a major restructuring of the province's electric utility industry. In 1995, the
Electric Utilities Act created an open-access, competitive power pool to trade electricity as a commodity. This enabled customers in Alberta to have a choice of who they purchased their electricity from. The City of Calgary Electric System began purchasing electricity from the Power Pool of Alberta on January 1, 1996. Today, the Power Pool is known as the Alberta Electric System Operator.
In 1996, City Council approved a proposal to make The City of Calgary Electric System a wholly owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary. As a result, ENMAX Corporation began operations on January 1, 1998. ENMAX Energy Corporation, an affiliated retailer, was incorporated on this date, as was our distribution and transmission subsidiary, ENMAX Power Corporation. Three years later, on January 1, 2001, ENMAX Energy entered the deregulated marketplace. Also on this date, ENMAX Encompass Inc. was incorporated to provide billing and customer care. ENMAX Power Services Corporation was incorporated in January 2003, to provide competitive engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance services throughout Alberta.
Service work being performed inside a substation in downtown Calgary.
1920 City of Calgary Electric System crew from the Electric Lighting Construction division.
To learn more about deregulation in Alberta, and our evolving electricity market, please visit the
Alberta Utilities Commission.
Customers are free to purchase natural gas services or electricity services from a retailer of their choice. For a list of retailers, visit ucahelps.alberta.ca or call 310-4822 (toll free in Alberta).
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