Member Spotlight Archive

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

A Leader in Energy Efficiency Initiatives

Founded in 1812, the City of Cuyahoga Falls is best known for its series of Cuyahoga River waterfalls that run through the middle of the city. The falls, which extend about two miles and fall farther than the Niagara Falls, served as an early source of power for mills and manufacturing.

The city was originally named Manchester, but was renamed Cuyahoga Falls at the request of the Post Office since there were already several other Manchesters in Ohio. In 1985, the City of Cuyahoga Falls merged with Northampton Township by voter approval; the first statutory merger of a city and township in Ohio. As a result, the city almost tripled in geographic area, to approximately 27 square miles.

The city began offering electric service in 1888, after City Council passed resolutions authorizing the Falls Edison Electric Light and Power Company the right to erect pole lines for the purpose of supplying electric street lighting. In 1955, the name was changed to the Cuyahoga Falls Electric System.

As a public power community, Cuyahoga Falls offers electricity rates at least 38% lower than local investor-owned utilities. The Electric System operates two 138KV substations, which interconnect with First Energy and provide Cuyahoga Falls with a peak capacity of 240 MW. With 10 distribution substations and over 223 miles of overhead and underground distribution lines, this power is then distributed through over 3,500 transformers to more than 24,000 electric customers.

Cuyahoga Falls has been recognized for its leadership role in promoting energy efficiency. In 2002, Cuyahoga Falls was one of only four Ohio cities to be awarded the title of “Governor’s Energy Smart Community” in recognition of the city’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and initiatives. The city has also received grant money and recognition from the Ohio Department of Development, Office of Energy Efficiency (ODOD/OEE) in conjunction with the Rebuild America initiative, a Department of Energy program that encourages partnerships between business, schools, and government to improve the energy efficiency of infrastructure and buildings.

The general membership of American Municipal Power elected Cuyahoga Falls to a seat on the AMP Board of Trustees. The city is also a participating project member in the following AMP projects: OMEGA JV1, OMEGA JV2, OMEGA JV5, OMEGA JV6, Hydro Project, Landfill Gas Energy and the Prairie State Energy Campus.

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