Ottawa River Power Corporation has its roots in the former four utilities of Almonte Hydro, Beachburg Hydro, Killaloe Hydro and Pembroke Hydro.
Almonte Hydro history goes back to 1886 with a stock company formed to provide electric lighting in the village. The 20 street lights came on in 1889. In 1890 Dr. A.A. Metcalfe and his brothers built the first generating station operated as the Almonte Electric Light Company which sold power. In 1901, the Metcalfe plant was purchased by the town which led to the formation of the Almonte Electric Light Commission in 1908. Generation increased over the years; but, in 1945 a connection was made to Ontario Hydro to assure an adequate supply. The existing power house, now owned by Mississippi River Power Generation, was upgraded in 1991 to 2500 kW.
Beachburg Hydro history dates back to 1935 when Beachburg was part of the Township of Westmeath. In 1959, Beachburg formed its own municipal government and Beachburg Hydro was controlled by a separate commission, made up of Council. On January 1, 2000, Beachburg Hydro amalgamated with Pembroke Hydro to become Ottawa River Power Corporation.
Electrical power came to Killaloe in 1947 as part of the rural electrification program of Ontario Hydro. The public utility was created in 1952 to take over the operation of the distribution of electricity within the town. A Commission consisting of two elected commissioners and the Mayor ran the utility. A major rebuild/upgrading of the system was completed in 1975.
Pembroke’s electric history dates back to October 1884 when it was reported in the local paper the first electric light was being turned on. Pembroke Electric Light Company came into existence in 1889 with a focus of providing light to Pembroke. Early generation was on the Muskrat River as part of the plants. Later generation came from a station built on the Black River. Pembroke Electric Light provided power from the Five Mile Crossing through to Camp Petawawa.
In 1967, Pembroke Hydro was formed when the municipality purchased the distribution assets from Pembroke Electric Light Company.
In 1997, the Government of Ontario engaged the MacDonald Committee to review the electrical system in Ontario. In various countries throughout the world, the industry was being revised; separating the components into competitive companies, where possible.
The MacDonald Committee requested input from utilities. Pembroke Hydro, in co-operation with all the other utilities in Renfrew County, completed a study which found that if amalgamation took place to create one utility of approximately 20,000 customers, excellent efficiency and superior service could be provided. In 2001, Pembroke Hydro and Beachburg Hydro amalgamated to form the Ottawa River Power Corporation. Killaloe Hydro and Mississippi Mills Hydro (formerly Almonte Hydro) joined ORPC on the opening of the market.
Renfrew formed and maintained their own utility while Chalk River, Deep River, Eganville and Arnprior sold their assets to Hydro One Networks Inc.