The Hibbing Public Utilities celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1995. The HPU owns and operates a cogeneration power plant for the citizens of Hibbing, which provides both steam and electricity for distribution to its service area.
The Utility also furnishes water and natural gas services to the City of Hibbing proper, Kitzville, and Kelly Lake. HPU’s main concern is to provide steady, reliable, utility service at competitive rates to the people and businesses of Hibbing. The following is a history of Hibbing Public Utilities.
The Hibbing Light and Water Company was incorporated in 1894, one year after the incorporation of Hibbing under the village form of government, by Hibbing and Trimble of Duluth, prominent mining operators.
An ordinance that year provided it the right to construct water works and lay water mains on the streets of Hibbing along with building a water supply tank.
Fairbanks, Morse & Co. was hired to erect a water tank at the west end of Center Street and lay water mains on portions of Pine Street and Third Avenue.
The inadequacy of both water and light systems was so apparent in 1913 that Earle D. Jackson, consulting engineer from St. Paul, was hired to make a report on the situation.
Burns and McDonald, consulting engineers, Kansas City, MO, were brought in in 1914 to do further reports. It was discovered that a sand and gravel formation lying about three miles south of the present city hall would be the best source of a permanent water supply
To furnish a water supply of three million gallons per day, seven wells were sunk. These wells, equipped with Layne and Bowler pumps, directly connected by vertical shaft to motors at ground surface. Each well was connected by a 12″ low-pressure pipe line discharged into a 1 million gallon reinforced concrete reservoir and main pump station.
Population served at this time was 16,601, including North and South Hibbing, Brooklyn, Kitzville, Morris, Nelson.
French, First Pool and Second Pool, Penobscot, Penobscot Hill, Webb, Nassau, Lavinia and Well Lines locations.
In 1995 the population served was 18,000.
The Public Utilities Commission was faced with some expanded costs of operation, higher costs of needed equipment repairs, replacements and supplies, together with increased demands of the public for better and expanded service.
In spite of increased costs, rates for residential and commercial areas were reduced and the utilities for Hibbing were still low cost.
Construction of the new Water Treatment plant was 98 percent complete in 1983. The four greensand filters, each measuring 30′ in length by 8′ in diameter, were installed in April.
The HPU embarked on its largest capital improvement project: the replacement of Turbine Generators No. 1 and No. 2. Funding for the project was provided by an $8.2 million bond issue.
The Hibbing Public Utilities Commission celebrated its 100th anniversary. The HPU has served Hibbing from its present location since 1919.
Currently, the Hibbing Public Utilities Commission owns and operates the power plant. The Commission is made up of three citizens appointed by the Hibbing City Council, each for one three-year term.
The Commission is the decision making body of the Utility, overseeing all projects and programs, reviewing and approving budget, and determining Utility projects.
Over the past 100 years, the commissioners and employees have steadily increased the productivity and stability of the Utility.