On a cold night on January 9th, 1896, the switch was thrown in Danville and the streets lit up with electric street lamps. Danville Electric Light Company was the first power company in Hendricks County and that night the snow covered ground reflected the light and lit up the town like never before, even though a section of lights north of Main Street failed to light up.
In addition to the street lights the power company provided power for lights in businesses and more affluent homeowners who could afford the new fangled “light in a bottle”. In March of that year the company ran and ad in the local paper, the Danville Republican, to explain to consumers that they were to turn off the lights during the day as no one had used lights before. Many people thought the power company did that for them (at the time meters were not used as consumers paid a flat monthly fee per light).
Initially most power was provided in towns by smaller local power companies. As the electric interurban and the Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company had commuter train lines in Hendricks County with power plants to drive the electric trains, they often sold excess power to communities as well. Around 1935 a group formed the Hendricks County REMC to provide power under the Rural Electrification Act to those too far from towns to be serviced by local power companies.
Eventually all the private companies were bought and sold and today most of Hendricks County homes and businesses either receives electric power from Duke Energy or Hendricks Power Cooperative (the REMC). And today’s savvy consumers know to turn off those lights to slow down the meter!
Some information in this post from “The History of Hendricks County 1914-1976”.