On July 16, 1886, Emperor Alexander III of Russia approved the charter of the Electric Lighting Company, founded by Carl Siemens. That day, the date when Lenenergo was established is considered the beginning of the era of electricity,. The company’s history, which spans more than a century, reflects the history of Russia with all its good and bad moments, including nationalization, the State Commission for the Electrification of Russia (GOELRO) plan, World War II, restoration of the economy, stagnation in the 1970s and the return to the principles of democracy, private property and integration into the world business community at the end of the twentieth century.
Lenenergo has always been one of Russia's most progressive power companies. Russia’s first stationary power plants were built in 1897–1898 in Saint Petersburg on Obvodnoy Canal (constructed by the Electric Lighting Company of 1886), on Novgorod Street (by Helios from Cologne, Germany), and on the Fontanka Embankment (by a Belgian company). In 1907, the renowned Russian scientist Genrikh Graftio designed and commissioned the Tramway Power Station.
In 1907, the renowned Russian scientist Genrikh Graftio designed and commissioned the Tramway Power Station.
The company was nationalized on December 29, 1917 (December 16 under the Old Style calendar).
It was then merged into United State Electric Stations (USES) in 1919.
and was renamed Petrotok in 1922.
The group was renamed Electrotok in 1924 and then renamed again in 1932 as Lenenergo and has kept this name ever since.
December 19, 1926, saw the commissioning of the Volkhovskaya Hydroelectric Plant, the country’s first and then most powerful hydroelectric station. Lenenergo created the first 110 kV power line in the USSR in those years.
Elektrotok’s management board moved to the former Pavlovsky Regiment Barracks early in 1929. The first control room of the Leningrad power system was installed there.
In 1932 it was renamed JSC "Lenenergo", which has been the Company’s name ever since.
The Nizhne-Svirskaya Hydroelectric Plant, the world’s first power plant constructed on floating Devonian clays, was launched with a ceremony on December 19, 1933. The facilities were constructed on a massive continuous concrete slab to avoid possible deformation. This engineering solution was used for the first time in the world. Energy from the hydroelectric plant was transmitted to the Chesmenskaya Leningrad substation via a 240-kilometre-long, 220 kV power line. This line was the first of its kind in the USSR. The Dubrovskaya State District Power Station was the first power station to be constructed without foreign specialists and furnished with equipment produced by domestic manufacturers.
Lenenergo’s system was comprised of 20 entities in 1941, including six thermal power plants, three hydroelectric plants, as well as networking and maintenance facilities with a total capacity of 758.5 MW and energy output of more than 30 million kWh. Lenenergo suffered significant damages during World War II and lost two thirds of its power system capacity. Leningrad was taken under siege on September 8, 1941. However, thanks in no small part to the selfless labor and courage of Leningrad’s power engineers, the city withstood the blockade.
Lenenergo proposed restoring and partially reconstructing the Volkhov 110 kV and 35 kV power lines in the winter of 1942 and laying a 10 kV four-wire cable on the bottom of Lake Ladoga. Stretching for more than 100 km, the cable was assembled by hand. This unique technical solution helped to break the power blockade in September, 1942, helping Leningrad to survive the blockade.
The energy system returned to its pre-war production capacity and electricity generation levels by 1949. The construction of new power plants and development of electric and heat networks continued in subsequent years.
The Leningrad Region power network was substantially reorganized in 1964. The 28 regional Selenergo agriculture energy operating divisions were liquidated and reorganized into eight Lenenergo power network divisions and agriculture electrification and distribution network services. Thus the Vyborgskiye, Gatchinskiye, Kingiseppskiye, Lodeynopolskiye, Luzhskiye, Novoladozhskiye, Prigorodnye and Tikhvinskiye power grids were created. The new companies provided power supplies to agriculture, industry and the population of the Leningrad Region. Over their first 20 years, 53,098 kilometres of 10 and 6 kV overhead networks and 31,822 kilometres of 0.5 kV networks were constructed, which doubled the coverage of the previous networks inherited from Selenergo.
The company started organizing its main 330-kV power network in 1965. The Vostochnaya, Chudovo, and Yuzhnaya substations with 330-kV lines were commissioned, providing connection of the Lenenergo power system to the United Central Power System. New developments included construction of a 750-kV high-voltage line, adoption of 10-kV and 220-kV oil-filled cables, construction of 1,400 mm heating lines, complex automation of production processes, adoption of management telemechanics, and many others.
All collective and state farms had been electrified by 1967.
and all settlements had been electrified by 1975.
A unique transformation complex comprising a transformation substation and two 400-kV lines was built in Vyborg in 1980 to increase energy exports to Finland. This unique project provided for transmission of up to 4 billion kWh annually for 10 years, with primary power of 600 MW, the highest in Europe at the time.
The company was privatized in 1992 and became the Joint-Stock Company of Electricity and Electrification Lenenergo, the successor to Leningrad Energy and Electrification Production Association Lenenergo. Damage to the power system in the 1980–1990s is still felt to this day. Payment default, debt offsetting and the ensuing cancellation of maintenance and construction programs all dramatically affected the industry.
The year 2000 was a critical year for the Company. A total of five new major 110-kVsubstations were constructed from 2000 to 2005, and more than 120 kilometers of heating lines and dozens of kilometers of power networks were reconstructed in Saint Petersburg.
The Extraordinary General Shareholder Meeting of Lenenergo decided on April 8, 2005 to reorganize JSC Lenenergo by separating the following companies:
JSC Saint Petersburg Generating Company
JSC Northwestern Power Management Company
JSC Saint Petersburg Power Sales Company
JSC Saint Petersburg Power Transmission Networks
The name Lenenergo was kept by the distribution network company, which thereby became one of the largest power distribution companies in Russia.
These reforms were a new round of development in the history of Russia’s first power system. The main task of the reforms was to adapt the work of the power energy sector to market conditions while also fully preserving the experience earned by many generations of Petersburg power engineers.
Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of the Management Board of UES of Russia, and Valentina Matvienko, Saint Petersburg Governor, signed an agreement on July 27, 2006 on cooperation at implementing activities to ensure reliable electricity supplies and create conditions for access to electricity networks for consumers in Saint Petersburg. This document provides unprecedented scale of investments in the energy sector of the northern capital. The total cost of the joint program in the period from 2006 to 2012 is estimated at RUR 300 billion. Total investments made in developing Lenenergo’s power grid complex amount to RUR 78 billion.
Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of the Management Board of UES of Russia, and Valery Serdyukov, Governor of the Leningrad Region, signed a similar agreement on June 9, 2007. The amount of funding for Lenenergo facilities exceeded RUR 26 billion.
Saint Petersburg received 927 MVA of additional transformer capacity in 2007 alone. A total of four new 110-kV substations were built: Lakhta, Strelna, Osinovaya Roscha-2, and IKEA-Parnas. In addition to installing new energy sources, important work was also done on reconstructing 11 existing substations, while simultaneously increasing their production capacity.
Lenenergo received the status of an independent IDGC within the change of configuration of interregional distribution grid companies (IDGCs) in 2007.
Lenenergo’s charter capital was increased from RUR 785 million to RUR 1,019 million through an additional issue in favor of the city of Saint Petersburg in 2008. As a result, the city of Saint Petersburg acquired a blocking stake in the Company’s charter capital. An additional issue in favor of a member of the Federation is an example of a completely new approach to defining the strategy of forming distribution network complexes in Russia.
Lenenergo created a network of client service centers in 2009, making it possible to develop a well-adjusted and comfortable system of integrated consumer service in the region. Lenenergo opened client service centers in the Pushkin, Vyborg, Kingisepp, Gatchina, and Luga districts of the Leningrad Region.
Furthermore, new power sources were constructed in 2009, including No. 167 Volkovskaya 110-kV substation, which will provide reliable electricity supplies to the Frunze and Moskovsky Districts of Saint Petersburg and the Frunze radius of the metro, and No. 322 Vyritsa 110/35/10-kV substation in the Gatchina District of the Leningrad Region, which will provide electricity to the Vyritsa, Susanino, Semrino, Kobralovo, Novelty, Sluditsy, Miny, Kaushta, and Krasnitsy districts. On January 27, 2009, registered ordinary and preferred shares of Lenenergo were included in the RTS "A" quotation list of the second-level. This is an important step in the formation of the company’s investment attractiveness, openness and transparency, confirming Lenenergo’s place among the leading companies in the industry.