The following is a collection of oral histories covering the growth and development of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) as seen by the participants – its employees.  The collection preserves the stories of distinctive and diverse individuals whose historical experiences have shaped the collective memory of DWP.

It is our belief that the interviews are not only an important source of DWP history but are useful to today's management in providing context to current issues.


Power System Interviews

The Power System Oral History Project was inaugurated in the Fall of 1989 to preserve the recollections of high level engineers and managers. The interviews were conducted between October 1989 and May 1993, and, with the exception of Dennis Whitney, all the participants were retired from the Department at the time of the interviews. While focusing on their experience at DWP, the interviewees' family background, education, and other employment are covered. The Department careers of the interviewees span the period from the 1930s to the 1990s. Most served as Division Heads while Sells and King also held the position of Assistant Chief Electrical Engineer, and Currie became Chief Electrical Engineer a year before his retirement. The interviews provide valuable insights into the operation and organization of the Power System, and particularly such developments as coal-fired generation and the Department's nuclear power program. Issues such as environmental regulation, the impact of the Energy Crisis of the 1970s, inter-utility cooperation, high voltage transmission, and the relationship between DWP and city government are also covered.


Name (Position at Retirement, Date of Retirement, Interview Topic and Date)

Burton A. Currie (Chief Electrical Engineer and Assistant Manager - Retired: 1973; "Power Operations and Communications" - Interviewed: 1992)

H. L. "Jim" Holland (Assistant Chief Electrical Engineer, Power System - Retired: 1982; "Human Relations in Power Engineering" - Interviewed: 1992)

Howard R. King (Assistant Chief Electrical Engineer, Retired: 1975; "Planning for Power" - Interviewed: 1989-1990)

Eugen Koffman (Principal Electical Engineer - Project Manager, Retired: 1974; "Memoir of a Nuclear Engineer" - Interviewed: 1989)

Peter G. Lowery (Principal Engineer of System Development, Retired: 1983; "Innovation in Power System Planning" - Interviewed: 1990)

Lawrence Schneider (Principal Engineer of Design and Construction, Retired: 1977; "Power Resource Management" - Interviewed: 1989-1990)

William A. Sells (Assistant Chief Electrical Engineer, Power System, Retired: 1977; "Service for a Growing City" - Interviewed: 1990)

Lyall J. Stinson (Division Head, Power, Operating and Maintenance Division), Retired: 1973; "Growth and Development of the Power System" - Interviewed: 1992 - Interview 2)

Dennis Whitney (Principal Power Engineer, Conservation and Planning Division, "Power Rates and Resources" - Interviewed: 1992)


Click HERE to see more DWP Oral Histories (Water System)


* * * * *



Help Support Our Cause

Click the Donate button to make a donation via PayPal to the Water and Power Associates, Inc. and support our ongoing endeavors researching, documenting and sharing information about the: 1) History of DWP; 2) History of Los Angeles in general and; 3) Critical Water and Energy Issues affecting Los Angeles and Southern California as a whole.