Celebrating Our 120th Birthday

You might say that 1896 was a great year for a number of reasons. The electric stove was Yard Staff - 100 Year Anniversarypatented in June, just before the City of Santa Clara allocated $3,500 to start its electric department, which in time became Silicon Valley Power (SVP). By October 1896 the utility was powering 46 streetlights, a development possibly overshadowed by Harvey Hubbell’s patent on a new light bulb with a pull chain. Other SVP milestones include:

  • 1903: We begin providing electricity to customers
  • 1980: First local electric power plant built
  • 1985: Wind power joins our power portfolio
  • 1988: We add geothermal power to our power mix
  • 1998: “Silicon Valley Power” adopted as our official name
  • 2013: We introduce free citywide outdoor pubic Wi-Fi access
  • 2015: We deliver power that is over 40 percent carbon-free while maintaining the lowest rates of any electric utility in California

Today we serve 53,000 residents and businesses, including some of the world’s most prestigious high technology companies, with power that is nationally known to be very reliable. Our community appreciates our efforts to be as carbon-free as possible (see our Resources Map), and many customers opt to use 100 percent clean, green power by enrolling in the Santa Clara Green Power program. Surveys show that our customers rate us highly for customer service and the lowest rates in the state. We really enjoy that trust from our community, and it inspires us to be even better as we head into our 121st year.

Prevent Shocks and Fires at Home

Electrical problems in homes cause over 50,000 fires a year resulting in hundreds of BePowerSafe Hashtaginjuries and deaths. Many of these electrical malfunctions and accidents are preventable, and taking some time to inspect your home’s indoor electrical system is just a smart thing to do. A simple oversight like a frayed cord or unsafe outlet could cause you grief, and the  even a small amount of electricity can be fatal.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are inexpensive outlets that prevent electric shocks and should be used in your kitchen, bathrooms, unfinished basement, garage, wet bars and near the laundry room tub. Here are some more tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about how you can prevent a problem:

  • Always turn off power at the circuit breaker box before working on your electrical system. (Hint: this is a good time to label or verify the labeling of your breakers so you know at a glance what they control.)
  • Replace any electric cords that are frayed, cracked or have exposed wires.
  • Do not place cords under rugs, across doorways, or any place where they can be stepped on. Don’t wrap cords tightly around any object.
  • If children are present, use safety covers on all unused outlets, including wall outlets, power strips and extension cords.
  • Do not use extension cords on a permanent basis, and never use metal such as nails or wire staples to hold a cord in place.
  • All electrical equipment, including kitchen appliances like toasters, should be located away from water and moisture sources.
  • Never overload a circuit.
  • If a light switch or outlet is warm, your lights flicker, you have blown fuses or tripped circuits, or you ever receive a slight shock that’s not from static electricity, call a qualified electrician to determine the problem.

Remember, if you have children in your home, you will need to pay special attention to home electrical safety. There are many more areas that you should check out in your home to be sure it’s electrically safe, and some great sources of more information are: