History of KLPD


The Kennebunk Light & Power District was originally formed as a department of the Town of Kennebunk in December of 1893. The Kesslen Shoe Factory, the largest employer in the Town, was in financial difficulty. Three enterprising residents of the Town approached the owner of the factory with an offer to purchase the hydro turbine rights owned by the Kesslen Company. The purchase offer was contingent on the Town purchasing the electricity to be generated so the entrepreneurs could make a return on their investment. The Town not only agreed to purchase the energy but executed the purchase of the turbine rights and formed the Town of Kennebunk Light Department to furnish electric street lighting to the town. The practice of the light department furnishing street lighting throughout the Town of Kennebunk continues even today.



In 1903, the Town of Kennebunk filed a bill with the State Legislature requesting permission to borrow funds “for the purpose of expanding the electrical infrastructure of the Town”. The bill passed the first reading by committee in the Legislature without comment. However, at the second reading in committee an amendment was added to the bill eliminating the south east portion of the Town of Kennebunk from the service area for the Light Department. To this day, no one knows who placed this amendment on the bill or why but it has been a matter of some controversy throughout the Town since the early sixties. In 2007, L.D. 1221 was passed by the State Legislature after an impressive effort by residents of the south east section of Kennebunk to give the District the right to once again serve the entire Town of Kennebunk. However, there were restrictions to that legislation that have prevented the District to date from serving the whole town. Please Click Here to view an interactive map provided by the Maine office of GIS. 

For a number of years the light department was part of the Town’s operating budget as income from the sale of electricity for street lighting was not sufficient to support the cost of generation and distribution of electricity. However, as demand for electricity for businesses and homes grew, the department started to produce income for the Town during the 1940’s. 



In 1951, the residents of the Town of Kennebunk approved the charter for the Kennebunk Light & Power District to be formed under a special and private act of the State Legislature. Thus, the electric light department of the Town was eliminated and the Kennebunk Light & Power District, independent of town funds and leadership was established. The District is led by a five person Board of Trustees elected by the residents of the Town of Kennebunk. The Trustees are authorized among other things to hire a General Manager to run the operations of the District. As a consumer-owned not for profit electric distribution company the District is accountable only to the residents and the customers it serves. 



In the 1997 and 1998, the State Legislature voted to de-regulate the electric utilities of the State through a major substantive law change effective March 1, 2000. One of the most notable changes made was that the investor owned utilities in the State were forced to sell off their generating plants, cease the sale of retail electricity and become solely distribution companies responsible for the maintenance and construction of the poles and wires that deliver the energy to homes and businesses. Public Power systems, such as the Kennebunk Light & Power District were given the option of remaining the in the generation business and continuing to purchase energy wholesale and sell it retail to its customers. The District’s Board of Trustees voted to continue “business as usual” so the District retained its hydroelectric generation sites and continues to purchase power wholesale on behalf of the customers it serves.



As the second largest public power, not for profit utility in the State, the District is proud of its history and reputation. The staff of the District continually works to ensure a safe and reliable system to serve its customers. Our mission to provide the most reliable system and the lowest cost is at the core of all that the District does. The Trustees and the staff look forward to building on our history to continue to provide a safe, reliable electrical system into the future.