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(201) 573-1800

53 Park Avenue
Park Ridge, NJ 07656


History of The Borough of Park Ridge Electric Department

On December 7, 1903, the Mayor (Andrew Perry) and Council approved an ordinance to issue bonds for fifteen thousand dollars "to provide for the lighting of streets of public places of said borough, the construction and purchase of suitable plants, works and machinery for supplying electric light for public or private use, and for the maintenance and operation thereof" Ordinance #49). The following year twenty-two acres of land were acquired and a lake, dam, and generating station were developed. The original dam held back a head of thirteen feet of water, and flooded about 12 acres of what was originally “the meadow”.

Additional funds were needed to complete the project so on June 5, 1905, the Mayor and Council approved another ordinance to issue bonds for an additional sum of fifteen thousand dollars for the “improvements to the generating plant and extending the street lighting” (Ordinance #53). The hydro generating plant was completed and put into service in November 1906.

Park Ridge became the first community in this area of Bergen County to generate its own electricity. The Mittag and Volger Factory at 76 Park Ave became the utility's first customer. By 1907, the system had a total of eighteen customers. During the next few years, more property was purchased and a gasoline engine was added to the generating plant, supplementing the power provided by the water wheel.

Because of the increased demand for power generation, on August 3, 1908 the acting Mayor (H.S. Stark) and Council approved an ordinance to "issue bonds of the aggregate principal sum of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) for lighting of streets and public places, and the construction of suitable plants, works and machinery for the supplying of light for public and private use" (Ordinance #58). Later in 1908, the dam was raised to a head of 18 feet to flood 20 acres (Mill Pond).

In 1919, the gasoline generating plant was taken out of service and the utility began purchasing power and maintenance from the Rockland Light and Power Company. In 1924, the newly created Department of Public Works took over the responsibility of maintenance and operation of the electric plant.

In 1926, the water turbine at Mill Pond was again placed in service to turn a water pump located in a well drilled on-site. In 1928, the water turbine was retired and an electric motor was installed to perform pumping operations. From then until the present, the lake has been used only for recreational purposes. Because of its original purpose, the lake is now commonly called “Electric Lake”.

In 1977, the Borough started the installation of a 28,000KVA electric substation. It was completed in 1978, at which time the Borough broke all ties with the Rockland Electric Company and began purchasing electric power from Public Service Electric and Gas Company.

In 1981, a 15,000KVA regulating station was added to the electric system. Two 26.4KV sub-transmission feeders were installed to feed power from the main substation to this regulating station. This station was built to regulate and supply 26.4KV power to four large corporate customers that were being developed. Sony’s National Headquarters, Hertz World Headquarters, a Marriott Hotel, and National Utility Service are the four large customers that are presently feed from this station.

In 1988, a modular 7,500 KVA 26/4KV mini-substation was added in the regulating station. Two 4KV feeders were installed from this station to alleviate the heavy loads on some of the feeders from the main substation. It was also used to feed the power to a large Condominium development called the “Bear’s Nest Village” (which is where Ex-President Richard Nixon resided until his death). In 1996, a third circuit was installed from this station to feed the Phase II development of the Bear's Nest Village.

In 1997, a state of the art supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system was installed which continuously monitors all of our electrical equipment at both substations. In addition, the system continuously displays and logs all power loading data, improving our capability to manage our electric system resources.

In 2000, the two voltage regulators at the Brae Substation were replaced, doubling the capacity of the regulating station to 30,000KVA.

Presently, the Park Ridge Electric Department serves approximately 3,700 customers with a peak demand of around 22MW. There are approximately 60 circuit miles of distribution system. The operations staff consists of a Supervisor, five Linemen, a Meter Repairer, and Meter Reader. Our power is presently purchased under a wholesale power contract from Allegheny Energy Supply. In addition we purchase approximately 5% of our power from low cost hydroelectric facilities in New York State. The Electric Department (along with the Park Ridge Water Department) is governed by a six-member “Board of Public Works” whose members are appointed by the Mayor and Council.