The big headline in the April 14, 1924 issue of the Alaska Daily Empire was "City Wins Fight in Light Case".
AEL&P had brought a lawsuit against the city which was trying to enforce an ordinance controlling electric rates. AEL&P felt the city did not have this authority. However, in 1919 a law had been passed by the Alaska Territorial Legislature giving the municipality the right to regulate the rates of public service companies.
Judge Reed, who presided over the proceedings, ruled in favor of the city in the lawsuit and AEL&P lost the case. After that ruling, the Company petitioned the city later that year to allow it to meter hot water heaters. At the time, residents with hot water heaters paid a flat fee of $2 per kilowatt-month of usage in the summer and $2.50 per kilowatt-month in the winter.
AEL&P wanted that arrangement changed so it could institute metered usage. In a letter from AEL&P's manager, W.L. Pullen, to the city the proposed change was outlined: a flat rate for the first 360 kilowatt-hours of usage, and a per kWh rate for usage above 360 kWh.
The mayor at the time, Mayor Goldstein, replied that in the opinion of the City Council, AEL&P's proposed new rate structure would be contrary to the provision of City Ordinance 186. He asked AEL&P to petition the council to review the changes and the reason for them so the council could consider the changes.
Minutes from the City Council meeting of February 2, 1925, show that the council agreed that AEL&P did generally have the right to meter water heaters, but Ordinance 186 would have to be modified to allow this. The modification was later passed and AEL&P was authorized to charge the water heater rates it asked for.
Another minor dispute between AEL&P and the city involved a gate. It seems a gate that AEL&P erected and maintained at what was then known as "Pipeline Alley" created a problem in someone's eyes. In a June 9, 1925, letter from the city to AEL&P General Manager Pullen, the city formally protested the erection and maintenance of that gate. This gate was used to prevent the company owned property from becoming public right of way. This property was later given to the city and became Capital Avenue.
Juneau's airwaves came alive with the sounds of radio in 1924, courtesy of AEL&P. An October 8, 1924 editorial in a local newspaper stated that AEL&P would soon have a powerful and well-equipped radio station in operation within a few weeks. About eight weeks later, AEL&P did start Juneau's first commercial radio station, KFIU. The station's first transmitter was set up in AEL&P's meter room at 35 Front Street, and broadcasts were from 4 to 5 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily, except Sunday.
Records from the time show December 7 as the first date broadcast was authorized by KFIU's license. By coincidence, Alaska's first radio station, KLAY in Fairbanks, was authorized to begin broadcasting the day before AEL&P's KFIU. There is good reason to believe, however, that some eager person at AEL&P couldn't wait and began broadcasting illegally on KFIU a day or two early, perhaps to beat the Fairbanks station onto the air and become, unofficially, the first radio station to broadcast in Alaska.
KFIU's broadcasts included many local programs with concerts, vocalists, news, weather bulletins and market reports. "A voice from the far north" was the on-the-air slogan of the day in 1927.
The year 1928 saw a major change for the station when it moved its broadcast frequency to 1310 kHz. Less than a year later, in September of 1929, KFIU weathered a major crisis: the FRC denied the station's application for license renewal. Within a short time, however, the FRC reversed its decision and the license was reinstated.
Two years later, on September 9, 1931, AEL&P left the broadcast industry, less than seven years after its first broadcast. AEL&P's general manager, Winfield Pullen, voluntarily surrendered the station's license to the FRC. Pullen had also been the station's manager throughout its brief existence, from its first, probably illegal broadcast in December 1924, to its last broadcast before surrendering its license to the FRC.
In a skirmish that pitted one Juneau utility against another, The Juneau Water Company and AEL&P fought over water rights in the early 1930's. The water company manager claimed that diversion from Gold Creek for power generation was leaving the creek dry in winter, with no water for the people of the city.
However, a letter from the mine's Superintendent, Lou H. Metzgar, and AEL&P General Manager Pullen to the Juneau Water Company shows that there was another side to this story. The letter and other documents indicate the water shortage was more likely due to leaky pipes and people leaving their faucets running constantly during cold weather to prevent freeze-related damage to their plumbing. The letter goes on to say that to ensure the people of Juneau had adequate water, both the mine and AEL&P would cooperate with the water company by releasing additional water when it was needed, but the two companies insisted that the water company would also have to protect its water distribution system and do all it could to eliminate the present waste of water, as dictated by City Ordinance.
John P. Corbus, who with his brother Adam, were the last two partners of the four who had purchased the company in 1896, died in 1933. At the time of his death, he was both president and treasurer of the company. His wife, Sarah T. Corbus, who was also the sister of Robert Duncan, became president of AEL&P, and their daughter, Mary Macrae Corbus, became secretary of the company in that year as well.
Like Maloney, John P. Corbus had seen tremendous changes happen in Juneau and the company. The city had grown from a small mining community to the Territorial Capital. Automobiles were driving up and down streets that once only heard the clip-clop of horses' hooves. Invisible radio waves brought song and radio shows to people's homes. Labor-saving electrical conveniences were appearing in great numbers in homes as well. Corbus and the company he helped build, AEL&P, had helped to make it all possible.
With all the growth that had taken place in the community and the company over the years, the time was deemed right in 1936 for the company to have a building built for itself that gave it the space it needed. Not only was better office space desirable, but the company needed attractive floor space to display the electrical appliances that it was selling to its customers. A repair shop and storage facilities were also needed.
So, AEL&P commissioned the construction of a new office building at the corner of Second and Franklin Streets. The N. Lester Troast Company was selected as the architect and the R.J. Somers Construction Company started construction in the fall of 1936. By May of 1937 the building was complete and ready for occupancy. To celebrate the completion of its new, modern office building, AEL&P held a grand opening for the public. An architect involved with the project , C.H. Metcalfe, said, "...we consider the ornamental ironwork on this building to be the most outstanding job in the Territory." The ironwork had been crafted locally in Juneau, and many involved in the project were quite pleased with the finished product.
Early in 1949, General Manager Pullen decided that after more than 30 years with AEL&P, it would soon be time for him to turn the company's reins over to another. In a letter dated March 15, 1949, Sarah T. Corbus, President of AEL&P, informed all stockholders that Pullen had decided to retire when the projects he was currently overseeing, the acquisition of an 800 KW Pelton Water Wheel and a GE generator, were complete.
Corbus' letter goes on to name Pullen's successor, Franz Nagel. She wrote:
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