History of HG&E

In 1902, Holyoke Gas & Electric was established through the purchase of a gas and electric plant from the Holyoke Water Power Company. The citizens of Holyoke saw ownership of a municipal utility as a way to stabilize rates and keep local control over their energy services.

Holyoke is one of America’s first planned industrial cities, situated on the banks of the Connecticut River. Industrialists were originally drawn to the river’s natural 57-foot-drop and the enormous potential energy for factories. Wealthy investors constructed a large granite dam and a 4.5-mile-long multi-level canal system in the late-1800's, drawing textile mills and paper manufacturers to the City.

Over the years, HG&E has triumphed over many adversities, including massive floods, severe storms, and immense changes in the utility industry. In 1965, HG&E was the only utility in New England that was able to keep the lights on during a massive blackout that affected nearly 30 million people.

In 1997, long before the internet was viewed as a critical utility service, HG&E had the foresight to construct a high-speed fiber optic network throughout the City. Over time this network expanded into Chicopee and Downtown Springfield, and today over 30,000 computers use the network daily to access the internet.

In 2001, just a day short of its 99th birthday, HG&E acquired the remaining Holyoke Water Power assets, including the Holyoke Dam and the City’s canal system. Today these green hydroelectric resources produce over 65% of the City’s electrical power at some of the lowest utility rates in New England. These low rates, along with the power of the fiber-optic cable network, helped make Holyoke an attractive location for the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, the largest green computing center in the Northeast.

Holyoke was named a Green Community in 2010 by the State of Massachusetts.  With a commitment to renewable energy, since 2012 HG&E has developed over 17 MW of solar, and continues to explore clean energy projects that will benefit both customers and the environment through sustainable energy savings.

In addition, HG&E has received recent awards and recognition, including:

  • 2021 Utility Transformation Leaderboard by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA)
  • Reliable Public Power Provider from the American Public Power Association
  • Certificate of Excellence in Reliability from the American Public Power Association
  • Smart Energy Provider (SEP) designation from the American Public Power Association
  • Smart Electric Power Alliance ranked HG&E third nationally in energy storage per capita
  • The Ira W. Leighton, Jr. Outstanding Innovative Technology Award from Environmental Business Council of New England for Mount Tom Solar & Energy Storage System
  • Energy Manager Today Project of the Year for Mount Tom Solar & Energy Storage System
  • Safety Achievement Award from the American Gas Association
  • System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) from the American Public Gas Association (APGA)

Learn More about HG&E's history

''Holyoke Gas & Electric: The First 100 Years'' - by Dave Moore
''The History of Holyoke Water Power Company - 1859-1967'' -by Robert E. Barrett