Coniston Hydro Electric Commission

Electricity was originally provided to the community of Coniston through the Mond Nickel Company in 1911. The Mond Nickel Company received its hydro power from the McVittie Chain of the Wanapitei River (it was later absorbed by the Ontario Hydro system).

When electricity was first introduced to Coniston, the town was still under development. As such light was limited to the supervision of construction and to specific public buildings. Private homes did not receive electric lighting until the late 1920's. This milestone was achieved through the efforts of the Committee of Council of the old Neelon and Garson United Townships. This council formed the Coniston Electric Light System, which ensured that electricity was provided to private citizens.

In 1934, when the Town of Coniston was incorporated, the Coniston Electric Light System continued to operated under the direction of INCO. This arrangement was maintained until 1955 when the Council of the day decided to form the Coniston Hydro Electric Commission and receive their energy needs directly from Ontario Hydro. In 1956, an election was held to create the three-man commission to oversee this new endeavour. The officials elected were W. Muraska, R. Duncan, and Mayor W. Kilimnik. When these gentlemen took office, they were met with an outdated electric system, a new substation, and a debt of $65,000. To overcome the difficulties, the commission implemented a cheaper rate system and proceeded to refurbish and increase the capacity of the current electric system until such time as the transformers needed to be replaced. Throughout its history, the Coniston Hydro Electric Commission maintained a viable rate system that was as low as, if not lower than, most of the Ontario utilities.

From 1956 until 1972, the hydro commission leased office space from the municipality in order to keep operations within the Coniston community. When Regional Government was implemented on January 1, 1973, Coniston became part of the Town of Nickel Centre and the administrative aspects of the commission were relocated to Garson's municipal offices. These services remained in Garson for ten years before being moved back to Coniston on July 1, 1982. With this relocation, the Coniston Hydro Electric Commission ceased to purchase services from the municipality and instead, chose to provide for the residents of Coniston through its own hydro office.

Today, with the amalgamation of the City of Greater Sudbury in 2001, Coniston's hydro needs are filled through Greater Sudbury Hydro.


Material compiled from The Coniston Story.

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