In its 80th anniversary edition of July 6, 1939, the Bossier Banner took a look back at the past, including a history of electric service in Bossier Parish.

“The history of electric service in Bossier Parish dates back prior to the time of Bossier City’s incorporation.  The first franchise obtained by what is now Southwestern Gas and Electric Company was in Bossier City in 1912.”

“At that time the electric industry was in its infancy.  Electricity was used for lighting   and little else.  At that time a hundred watt bulb cost several dollars; today a much more efficient hundred-watt lamp costs only 15 cents.  Since the time Southwestern Gas and Electric Company obtained its first franchise in Bossier Parish many time and labor saving electrical appliances have been invented, and their prices have been greatly reduced.”

“The next franchise in Bossier Parish was the Benton franchise which was obtained in 1926.  During this same year an 11 kv. [kilovolt which is a unit of electrical potential] line was built from Bossier City to Benton.”

“During 1928 Southwestern Gas and Electric Company acquired the Plain Dealing Electric Utility property.  The city distribution system was completely rebuilt and modernized to give Plain Dealing a new and up to date electric system.  While this construction was in progress an 11kv. Line was built from Benton to Plain Dealing.  During 1930 a line was extended from Bossier City to Haughton and during 1932 an extension was made from Bossier City to Barksdale Field.”

“During the past ten years there have been numerous rate reductions in Bossier Parish.  Bossier City electric rates have been reduced four times during this period, while Benton, Plain Dealing and the unincorporated towns in the parish have had five rate reductions during the same time.  As a result of these rate reductions the electric rates in Bossier Parish are approximately 50 per cent lower than during 1929.”

“The electric rates now in effect throughout Bossier Parish compare favorably with other sections of the country.  An efficient distribution system means dependable service.  Industry must have dependable service at low rates to grow and prosper.  Southwestern Gas and Electric Company offers such service to industry in Bossier Parish.”

“Southwestern Gas and Electric Company serves dozens of different industries in the parish.  Among them are fertilizer plants, crate plants, oil refineries, chemical plants, cotton oil mills, air reduction plants, newspapers, creosoting plants, ice plants, tank companies, dairies, lumber mills, cotton gins and Barksdale Field.”

“Mile after mile of high voltage lines throughout the parish, efficient distribution systems in the cities of the parish, numerous substations and other equipment represent an investment of thousands of Southwestern Gas and Electric Company.  It means more jobs for men and women in Bossier Parish and it means that thousands of dollars [in] taxes are paid annually to the parish, the incorporated cities and the parish schools.”

Prices and electrical equipment have certainly changed.  You can learn more about changes in Bossier Parish by visiting the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or amiddlet@state.lib.la.us.