The following Electric Energy, Inc. company background information is taken from the Massac County Illinois History Vol. 1 1987 book produced by the Massac County Historical Society.
Massac Countians learned on Jan. 11, 1951, that Electric Energy, Inc. would build a $74 million-steam electric plant in the Joppa area.
Rumors had circulated for a month that half of the power requirements for the new Atomic Energy Commission plant west of Paducah would be furnished by private industry, with the other half from TVA’s Shawnee Steam Plant, which was already under construction.
EEI was newly organized and put together by a group of sponsor utilities — Central Illinois Public Service Co., Illinois Power Co., Kentucky Utilities Co., Middle South Utilities Co. and Union Electric Co. The group was awarded the power contract and announced the generating plant would be built near Joppa.
Construction of the four-unit plant was underway by the end of 1951; in November 1952, the estimated cost of the project had increased to $103 million.
When the Atomic Energy Commission announced a major expansion of its Paducah production facilities, EEI added two more units to the Joppa station, making a total contemplated capacity of 1,050,000 kilowatts of power.
With costs escalating, construction was shut down and reorganized in summer 1953 with the first four units 80% complete. The original contractor was replaced and work resumed three months later. On Aug. 5, 1955, the Joppa plant was in full operation.
Construction of the project took four years and 10 months, more than 200,000 cubic yards of concrete, 24,000 tons of structure steel, 492 miles of tubing for the boilers and 1130 miles of cable for the electrical system. The total cost of the six-unit plant was $181,675,000.
In addition to being the first investor-owned plant in the nation to build six units at one time on a crash program basis, the Joppa Steam Plant also pioneered many equipment design features that had previously been considered almost impossible. Among these design firsts were: longest turbine shaft in the world; greatest turbine power output potential on one shaft; largest current limiting reactor ever installed; tallest river crossing towers at 480 feet; among the longest cable spans across a river at 4000 feet; and highest steam temperature at 1055 degrees.
The impact of Electric Energy, Inc. on Massac County and the surrounding area has been phenomenal. Since operations began, coal and fuel oil purchases have amount to $1.3 billion. During the same time period, the payroll for EEI employees has mean an additional $165 million for the area’s economy. And, since operations began, the huge plant has paid $28 million in state and local taxes, thus affording better schools and many added services for the citizens of Massac County and the surrounding area.