News Release
Aug. 09, 2000


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Power’s Wylie Hydroelectric Station celebrates 75 years of continuous service this month.

Built in 1925 on the site of the then-existing Catawba Hydroelectric Station, Wylie hydro was known originally as the "new Catawba" station. In 1960, the station and the lake it impounded were renamed in honor of W. Gill Wylie, one of the founders of what was to become Duke Power Company. Wylie hydro is located on the Catawba River, in York County, S.C., about three miles west of Ft. Mill, S.C.

"In its 75 years, Wylie hydro has been a reliable and consistent producer of electricity," said Station Manager Randy Horton. "We’re proud of the people who have made and who continue to make Wylie’s contribution possible. Seventy-five years of continuous service is no small achievement."

Wylie hydro’s 60,000 kilowatts, along with those of Duke Power’s 30 other hydroelectric stations, are used primarily during the "peak periods," when Duke Power customers’ use of electricity is at its highest. The 13,400-acre Lake Wylie, impounded by Wylie Dam, is a popular attraction, receiving more recreational use than any other Catawba River lake. The lake is also used by York County and the cities of Belmont and Rock Hill as a source of drinking water.

In 1924, the company began construction to replace the 20-year-old hydro station then on the site— the "old" Catawba hydro. The existing dam was raised, expanding the impounded lake from 668 acres to its present 13,400 acres. Four new 15,000-kilowatt generators replaced "old" Catawba’s 6,600 kilowatts of total capacity and the "new" Catawba station went into service in August 1925. In October 1960, the station was renamed Wylie Hydroelectric Station. With a recently completed renovation of its turbines and generators, the station is ready for service in this new century.

W. Gill Wylie plays an important role in Duke Power’s beginnings.

He was a physician, engineer and entrepreneur who, with his chief engineer, William States Lee, built and put into operation the "old" Catawba Hydroelectric Station in 1904. Contacts with the Duke family led to James B. Duke’s purchase of Wylie’s Catawba Power Company and the formation of Southern Power Company in 1905. In 1927, Southern Power, which had become the principal generation company for Duke’s expanding electricity business, was merged with the three-year-old Duke Power Company and was dissolved.

Wylie was the first president of Southern Power (1905-19 10) and the "old" Catawba hydro was the first operating plant of what was to become Duke Power. William States Lee’s grandson, William States (Bill) Lee III, became Duke Power’s chief executive officer in 1982, almost 50 years after his grandfather’s death. Like his grandfather, Bill Lee was one of the country’s most respected engineers and utility executives.

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to nearly two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system capability is 19,290 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at:

Duke Energy, a diversified multinational energy company, creates value for customers and shareholders through an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. Duke Energy manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses—generating revenues of nearly $22 billion in 1999. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 100 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at:

Contact: Joe Maher
Phone: 704/382-8323
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333