By Sean Colby and Kevin Walsh
Electricity for commercial use first got its start in Boston in the mid-1880’s with the creation of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston. This company was a subsidiary of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York, which was formed in December 1880. After E.E.I.Co of Boston was created, it eventually became Boston Edison. Boston Edison did business in the same way and under the same name for decades, and provided electricity to the metropolitan Boston area. Change began in 1996, however, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission forced power companies to open its lines up to competitors.
In response, Boston Edison sold its six fossil fuel power plants to Sithe Energy, and its one nuclear power plant to Entergy Nuclear Generating Company of New Orleans. In December 1998, Boston Edison acquired Commonwealth Energy, another electric and gas supplier in Massachusetts. Together, the two companies former NStar Energy, which now supplies electricity and gas to about 100 Massachusetts cities and towns, including Boston. NStar is also the gas supplier for many Eastern Mass communities and parts of the City of Boston (The remainder of the Boston area is supplied by Keyspan, which will be described later).
Although Boston Edison is a part of NStar, it still exists in name. Remnants of the E.E.I.Co of Boston also remain, and can be seen on various substations and manhole covers throughout Boston.
An older electric substation on Beacon Street. The oldest section is on the left and a more modern section on the right. If you look to the bottom right of the older building, you can see this:
“Selling Power: Marketing and Monopoly at Boston Edison, 1886-1926” by David B. Sicilia