Thomas Edison made history by developing the first practical electric light in 1879. Albuquerque was the largest city in the New Mexico territory and rapid expansion of the railroad throughout the southwest brought with it the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway that reached the city.
The first gas and electric franchises were established. A local Albuquerque civic leader and businessman A.A. Grant established the Albuquerque Gas Company and secured land to build a plant near the railroad's coal unloading and storage yard. The plant manufactured producer gas--made from nitrogen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and coal or coke--for distribution to local businesses and residences.
Businessman and landowner Perfecto Armijo established the Albuquerque Electric Light Company and immediately sold his interest in the company to A.A. Grant and Dennis Dennison. The company built a new power plant with a 250-kilowatt generator and reorganized in 1886 appointing A.A. Grant as president.
Albuquerque Gas, Electric Light and Power Company is established through the purchased the assets of the Albuquerque Gas Company and the Albuquerque Electric Light Company.
The Albuquerque Electric Power Company is created to provide and distribute electric power to provide for a growing town with a new streetcar, transit company and a lumber company along with 608 customers. The company partners with the American Lumber Company to lease land for a new 500-kilowatt power plant and supplied fuel and water for boilers and in return provided the lumber company with continuous electric service.
Threat from an outside takeover forces a partnership of the Albuquerque Electric Power Company and Albuquerque Gas, Electric Light and Power Company in September of 1904.
Ads promoting cheaper and cleaner heat from gas than from using coal appear on the scene.
In 1910 a huge advance in technology occurs when the first turbo 1,000-kilowatt generator was installed at the Sawmill Power Plant. Up until this point, a steam engine had been used to turn the generator.
In 1911, a public utility holding company, New York City's Federal Light and Traction Company took financial control of the two partnered companies who serve as Albuquerque’s main power supplier until 1917.
New Mexico is granted statehood on January 6, 1912.
The same year to increase sales of electricity utilities the company began offering low cost wiring services for homes payable in monthly installments. The ads emphasized safety, attractiveness and comfort of having electric light in the home.
Electric companies sold appliances directly to the public. Utility companies would host appliance demonstrations that were well attended. In an ad from the Albuquerque Evening Herald on Dec. 1, 1913 small appliances were priced at:
- Coffee Percolator Machines $6.90
- Electric Chafing Dish$7.35
- Electric Flat Iron $3.00
- Electric Percolator Coffee Pot $5.50
- Electric Grill $3.45
- Electric Heating Pad $3.50-$4.50
- Egg Cooker $6.25
- Electric Toaster $2.75
New York City's Federal Light and Traction Company officially merge the two Albuquerque companies: Albuquerque Electric Power Company and Albuquerque Gas, Electric Light and Power Company into a new organization, the Albuquerque Gas & Electric Company.