The 1960s

The push to heat with electricity

Following a study in the late 1950s, PP&L decided in late 1959 to aggressively promote electric heating for homes. In 1961, when PP&L began its concerted effort to sell electric heat, there were only about 1,000 PP&L customers using electric home heating. By 1964, that number had increased six-fold and it doubled to nearly 14,000 electric home heating customers by early 1967.

Read the Article


New plant boosts generation

The Brunner Island station, PP&L’s second semi-outdoor, bituminous coal-burning plant, goes on line. The initial two units are the largest yet in the company’s system, adding the capability to generate 741 MW of power. A third unit is built before the end of the decade.

At the 1958 groundbreaking, with an eye on the future, PP&L chose a 13-year-old shareowner to put in the first shovel. “He represents our customers of tomorrow…,” PPL Chairman Chas. E Oakes said at the groundbreaking. “For at this moment, we already look ahead to the need for power plant capacity that by 1970 will be double what we now have.”


Power fuel shift

From 1962 to 1984, annual year-to-year production of anthracite coal increased only twice. Declines were registered in each of the other 20 years. In the 1960s, PP&L shifted to Pennsylvania bituminous coal to reduce its dependence on the declining production of the state’s anthracite fields. The company also began using a unit train system that delivered coal in a dedicated trainload from the mine to the power plant.


Coal trains transported coal from mines to power plants as part of a cooperative effort between the Pennsylvania Railroad and PP&L. This photo was taken around 1964.


Electric vehicles added to PP&L’s fleet

PP&L adds eight electric vehicles to its business car fleet and begins touting the benefits of electric vehicle use. The electric vehicles, called Mars II, could reach speeds of 60 miles per hour for a range of 70 to 120 miles before needing to be recharged. PP&L invited the media to see the cars and peek under the cars’ hoods during a press event that summer.