In 1913 the municipality of St. Moritz took over the private company for electric lighting and created the electricity plants (EW) St. Moritz. Today it produces electricity for St. Moritz and Celerina under the name St. Moritz Energie
The history of electric light, however, began 135 years ago, in 1878, when the Samedan hotel pioneer Johannes Badrutt implemented the first electricity plants in Switzerland above his Kulm Hotel in St. Moritz, causing quite a stir with its festively lit Belle Époque halls.
It was neither in Zurich, Berne or Geneva, but here in St. Moritz where the first electric light in Switzerland shone. This shows the cosmopolitan outlook and trailblazing pioneer spirit that prevailed during the second half of the 19th century in the Upper Engadine health resort.
1878: First electric light in Switzerland
Hotel pioneer Johannes Badrutt admires an electric lighting system at the Paris World Exhibition. He is so fascinated by it that he puts a small water turbine into operation the same year in St. Moritz. As early as July 18, 1879, several electric carbon arc lamps are lighting up the dining room of the Kulm Hotel.
1887: Construction of the new Kulm plant
Tourists get used to the benefits of electricity. To ensure the power supply during winter, Johannes Badrutt decides to use the flowing water of the river Inn. For this purpose, he builds a new power plant at the exit of the Inn gorge.
1891: Establishment of the corporation and construction of Charnadüra plant
Caspar Badrutt, son of Johannes Badrutt, and Alfred Robbi, the mayor of St. Moritz, set up the first Aktiengesellschaft für elektrische Beleuchtung (Corporation for Electric Lighting). Immediately after the licences are awarded, construction gets under way for another centre slightly above the Kulm plant, in the Inn gorge.
1896: The electric tram
The municipality of St. Moritz decides to build an electric tramway between St. Moritz Dorf and St. Moritz Bad. The tramway is 1,700 metres long, has a maximum incline of 66.2 per thousand and is supplied with DC power from the upper Charnadüra plant.
1913: Establishment of the Elektrizitätswerk St. Moritz (St. Moritz Power Station)
Upon expiration of the concession contract with the municipality of St. Moritz in 1913, it exercises its right to repurchase and acquires all electrical equipment of the Aktiengesellschaft für elektrische Beleuchtung (Corporation for Electric Lighting). The community founds the Elektrizitätswerk St. Moritz (St. Moritz Power Station) on 1 April 1913, as a subsidiary enterprise – a form of organisation that still exists today.
1932: Construction of the Kraftwerk Islas (Islas power plant)
The Elektrizitätswerk St. Moritz (St. Moritz Power Station) builds the new Islas power plant, which has a license covering a period of 60 years. The centre replaces the two existing plants in the Charnadüra gorge.
1947: Increase in electricity production
Construction work for the water reservoir in Lake Sils and Lake Silvaplana increases winter production in 1947/48 from previously 80,000 kWh to 400,000 to 450,000 kWh.
1962: Construction of the Islas substation
In response to the rising energy consumption, the Elektrizitätswerk St. Moritz (St. Moritz Power Station) builds the new Islas substation. It begins to operate in 1962, reducing the demand for foreign energy.
1987: New office building Punt da Piz
On 2 November, the keys are handed over for the new administration building in Punt da Piz, which is attached directly to the operation centre. Finally, the whole operation is under one roof.
1992 New operating rooms and grid control centre
After two years of preparation, the new grid control centre opens its doors, on 29 February 1992. The centre provides round-the-clock monitoring and, if necessary, remote intervention, even in isolated stations.
1996: Expansion of the supply area
The Elektrizitätswerk St. Moritz (St. Moritz Power Station) extends its supply area, taking over all plant components of the Bündner Kraftwerke that are located within St. Moritz.
2007: Renovation of the Kraftwerk Islas (Islas power plant)
The Kraftwerk Islas (Islas power plant) is renovated and updated with the latest technology. Three Francis turbines increase the annual production, enabling production of approximately 20 percent of the electricity consumption in St. Moritz and Celerina.
2008: Name change to St. Moritz Energie
The Elektrizitätswerk St. Moritz (St. Moritz Power Station) changes its name to St. Moritz Energie. The new company logo underlines its market positioning and regional roots.
2013: Energy network St. Moritz Bad
St. Moritz Energie builds the new energy network St. Moritz Bad. Individual buildings, such as the new indoor swimming pool OVAVERVA, are connected to the district heating system. The heat from Lake St. Moritz and the waste heat from the Ludains Ice Arena serve as energy sources.
To celebrate our 100th anniversary, we have immortalised our history in the anniversary book "Die weisse Kohle von St. Moritz und Celerina". Browse it online!