1951 to 1980

As the metropolitan area grew, so did KCP&L. Technological advancements and new generating facilities helped keep pace.

Employees in a control roomKCP&L’s growth as a company has always matched the growth of the Kansas City community, bringing electricity to customers where they lived and worked. As Kansas City expanded beyond the city’s core into suburban areas, so did KCP&L. 

Home electricity use was steadily increasing, as demonstrated by an All-Electric Model House the company showcased in the mid-1950s. The home featured novel inventions like a wall television, electric curtain opener, garage door opener, recessed lighting and multiple outlets. (The home can still be toured at the Johnson County Museum of History.) 

In 1950, KCP&L became an independent company again after its holding company dissolved. In 1952, the company bought the assets of Eastern Kansas Utilities and began building the Montrose Station in Henry County, Mo. In addition, the two units of the Hawthorn Station on the Missouri River were fully operational by 1955, doubling the company’s generation capacity. But the demand for power in the Kansas City metro continued to increase with population growth and the rise of air conditioning. Just one unit could double a customer’s electricity usage. 

To keep pace, managers moved to a load center system design in 1954. The company added even more capacity in 1962 by entering into a 33-year cooperative agreement with other utilities in Missouri and Kansas. The Mokan Pool allowed the participants to share reserve electricity and coordinate the planning of new generating facilities and transmission lines. By 1966, the customer base had grown to more than 280,000. The first phase of the 1,370-megawatt La Cygne coal plant began operation in 1973 to meet the region’s growing electricity needs.