Otter Tail Power

Otter Tall Power Company, which presently serves customers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, acquired the electric distribution rights for the City of Cooperstown from Central Electric and Telephone Company, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, October 1, 1943.  Cooperstown was acquired along with eighteen other nearby North Dakota communities.

Otter Tail had served five communities in the area on a wholesale basis since 1926.  The five included Cooperstown, Gackle, Hannaford, Medina and Streeter.

Of significance to this overall purchase, in 1943, was Otter Tail's acquisition, also on October 1, 1943, of the Jamestown Gas Plant, additionally purchased from Central Electric and Telephone Company, Sioux Falls.

In 1944 Otter Tall Power was serving Cooperstown under the franchise previously held by Central Electric.  In 1948 the City of Cooperstown and Otter Tall Power agreed on a twenty-year contract for electric service.  As part of the provisions in the contract, Otter Tall agreed to own and operate overhead street lighting, consisting of brackets and incandescent lamps.  The company also agreed to furnish electrical energy to operate motor-driven pumps at the town's pumping plant.  '

In 1948 Otter Tall Power worked closely with O.F. Kopperud, city auditor; and L.A. Sayer, Mayor of Cooperstown.  In the 1940's Otter Tail's territory included approximately 70,000 square miles.

In its early years of operation, Otter Tall Power was served by hydro stations, small steam plants and diesel generators.  As the customer need for electricity grew, the smaller steam plants were retired.  Large steam plants, relying on North Dakota lignite coal, were brought on line.  Today, coal-operated plants account for 99 percent of Otter Tail's generation of electrical output.  The other one percent is divided between two small hydroelectric plants and fuel-fired peaking system.

Today Otter Tail Power Company supplies electric service to 464 communities and 3,000 farms in western Minnesota, eastern North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota.  This area is equivalent in area roughly to the size of the state of New York.

Otter Tail Power Company service representatives in Cooperstown during this period have included George Reed, 1943 through 1959: George Paulson, 1959 through 1965

Bert Hoffman, 1966 through April of 1978 and Arthur Perleberg, Jr., April of 1978 to present.  There have also been a number of trainees who have trained here in Cooperstown and moved up to become full-service representatives and then have been stationed in areas of their own.  Some of these trainees include: Gordon Solee, Pat Caulfield, Bert Oberlander, Gary Klinger, Don Kitzman, Gary Siverson, Tom Miller and Dennis Zorn.

As mentioned before, Arthur Perleberg, Jr. is the present service representative and Dennis Zorn is the service representative trainee.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 219

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