Lyse Energi AS was founded on 17 June 1998. The Group was established following the merger of several power companies in Sør-Rogaland. The power companies have roots extending all the way back to 1909.
Turbines in Oltedal power station
In spring 1909 Sandnes received electricity from the power station at Sviland. On 10 December of the same year, Stavanger city received electric lights from the new power station in Oltedal.
A surge in demand for electric power during the First World War meant that the power plant in Oltedal was developed to full capacity. A smaller power plant in Oltesvik was also built.
Work in Lysefjorden in 1916
It was only when Stavanger Elektrisitetsverk received electric power from A/S Flørli in 1918 that the demand was covered.
The power plant could also deliver electricity to the neighbouring municipalities Hetland, Randaberg, Madla and Sola.
In the interwar period consumption diminished and campaigns were run to encourage housewives to cook with electricity in order to drive consumption up. Gradually consumption grew and several municipalities collaborated together to establish the Maudal power plant.
The plant commenced operations in 1930.
From the development of Lysebotn power plant
In 1947 several municipalities collaborated together and founded Lyse power plant with the idea of developing Lysebotn. A collaboration was necessary in order to be able to supply enough electricity. Before the development in Lysebotn had been completed Lyse power plant was engaged in developing Sira-Kvina, since Stavanger municipality had secured the waterfall rights in Siravassdraget early on.
The power plant began operations in 1953 and was expanded in 1964.
Sira-Kvina Kraftselskap was founded with the aim of developing Sira and Kvina watercourses. Development was completed in six building phases from 1963 to 1989. In total seven power plants have been built with tunnel systems and regulation reservoirs. The power company's head office and control centre are in Tonstad in Sirdal municipality. Lyse owns 41.1 per cent of the company.
Kilendammen in Sira-Kvina
From the end of the 1980s Lyse also received power from the Ulla-Førre plants.
In the 1980s the government authorities applied pressure to encourage amalgamations in the power industry. An attempt was made to set up a power company for generation and distribution in the region.
Resistance at the local political level was so great that the attempt was abandoned in 1987.
In Sør-Rogaland in the early 1990s the power stations entered into a collaboration for the purchase and sale of electricity. The market collaboration and general development trends in the industry provided fertile ground for a political process. At a meeting of the owners of Lyse Kraft DA in December 1996 a "Mayors' committee" was appointed. The committee was to lay out the overall energy supply strategy in the area and make proposals for its future structure and organisation.
The result was a resolution that a joint local power company should be established.
The new energy law in 1991 led to major changes. The main principle in the law is that the generation and sale of electricity, which had previously been a monopoly, was left to the market. There is still a monopoly on the distribution of electricity through the electricity grid, but the business is subject to strict controls.
Lyse Energi was established in summer 1998 with 13 municipalities as the owners and 500 employees.
Lyse Tele was founded in 2001. The company developed a concept in which fibre-optic cable was laid all the way to the customers' homes. Through the fibre-optic cable the customers received TV, telephone and internet. The aim was to have 28,000 private customers in its own region by 2017.
Lyse's concept became popular in its own region and was also in demand by other power companies. Lyse therefore developed a partner model, and started delivering fibre-optic services throughout Norway.
Laying the gas pipeline at Forus
In August 2003 Lyse began to lay a gas pipeline from Kårstø down to Risavika. The gas pipeline was opened in March 2004. At the same time Lyse developed a gas distribution network from Rennesøy and Risavika to industrial customers in the region.
Today Lyse supplies around 600 GWh of gas to these customers.
In collaboration with IVAR, Lyse founded the company Forus Energigjenvinning. The company operates an incineration plant that recycles energy from general waste.
Thus the rubbish is converted into district heating that the customers utilise for hydronic heating and hot tap water. Lyse is working to expand the district heating network in the region in order to utilise more of the energy from the plant.
In 2006 Altibox became the brand for the sale of products via fibre-optic cable..
In order to strengthen its competitiveness against other national broadband providers, Lyse established a separate brand name for the fibre-optic business in 2006. Through the Altibox brand about 40 partners in Norway and Denmark now supply TV, telephony and internet via fibre-optic cable.
Skangass AS was founded in 2007. Skangass is responsible for operating an LNG plant in Risavika in Sola municipality. The plant has an annual generation of 300,000 tonnes of LNG, equivalent to the energy requirements of two cities the size of Stavanger. LNG is used as fuel for vessels bunkering at Risavika harbour, but most of the production is exported by vessel and vehicle to customers in Eastern Norway and Sweden.
LNG plant in Risavika
Aerial photograph from Lysebotn
The largest investment in the history of the Group was approved on 20 December 2012. It was on that date that the corporate assembly resolved to develop a new power plant in Lysebotn. The new power plant Lysebotn 2 will be one of Norway's largest hydroelectric power projects and will result in about 15 per cent more power - without intervening in nature.
In 2013 Lyse launched Smartly, a service that allows customers to control the most important functions in their home using a tablet computer or smartphone. Through the installation of a control unit in all homes Lyse is elevating the housing standard in the region to a new level, and with the control unit a person will be able to control anything that can be controlled in the future.
In 2013 Smartly started to control lighting, heating and the alarm. Welfare technology services, designed to help the elderly and others with special needs, were launched in 2014.