Our History

Check out our commemorative video produced by Joker Media!



Diesel Plant

The Marquette Board of Light and Power (MBLP) began operating in Marquette in 1889 providing electricity to the community via hydro generation on the Dead River under the administration of the City of Marquette. In 1965, the MBLP was placed under the jurisdiction of its own publicly-elected five member board.  Today, the MBLP is a modern municipal utility serving approximately 16,000 customers in the City of Marquette and all or parts of nine townships: Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, West Branch, Richmond, Chocolay, Skandia, Sands, and Forsyth in Marquette County.

Currently the MBLP has a total of 92 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity including coal-fired steam generation from three units at the Shiras Steam Plant, a combustion turbine peaking plant, and from hydroelectric generation at two dam facilities. Annually, the utility requires approximately 200,000 tons of coal for generation purposes which is received at the utility’s unloading dock in Marquette’s Lower Harbor. The MBLP has received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for its clean operations and the Shiras Steam Plant was named the fifth cleanest power plant in the United States.

Electricity is also purchased from interconnected utilities if it can be obtained at a lower price than the MBLP can produce it. 

 The utility’s distribution system is comprised of approximately 450 miles of overhead and underground lines.  A variety of aggressive maintenance programs, including utility line brushing and infrared scanning of the lines and equipment aid in preventing power outages. To ensure reliable electric service to all its customers, the MBLP has a line crew on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to customer service problems. The MBLP uses GPS technology for the quickest response to system emergencies and the electric meters are read via the utility’s new Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI) program providing customers with accurate, timely electric bills.

Lift gate at 2 Dam

The MBLP is staffed by 80 employees and serves its customers at an office/warehouse complex located at 2200 Wright Street. The administrative offices, billing/customer service, distribution and meter departments, and vehicle maintenance are all located in this facility. The MBLP’s Executive Director is at the MBLP’s main office and oversees the day to day operations of the Production, Distribution and Billing/Administrative Departments. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Main Office. The Shiras Steam Plant, located at 400 E. Hampton Street, is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

2 Dam

The publicly-elected Board of Directors govern the utility’s operations and meet the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the MBLP’s main office at 2200 Wright Street. The board members are elected for three year terms and can serve a maximum of six consecutive years with a two year waiting period before they can run for re-election. Current Board members are listed on the website along with previous meeting minutes.

The MBLP has been a part of the Marquette community for over 120 years and is committed to providing reliable, cost-effective power to all its customers today and into the future.


A letter from Rick Snyder commemorating 125 Years of operation.

Also, please check out our brief History from 1887 to today.