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The history of electricity supply in Berlin began on 8 May 1884. On this day, the public limited company "Städtische Elektricitäts-Werke" was founded. In 2024, Stromnetz Berlin celebrates 140 years of electricity for Berin.

140 years of electricty for Berlin

The history of electricity supply in Berlin began on 8 May 1884. On this day, the public limited company "Städtische Elektricitäts-Werke" was founded.

Cable grounding at Tiergarten of Berlin

Laying a 110 kV cable in Berlin's Tiergarten around 1960.

Stromnetz Berlin is a successor to the company. In 2024, we will celebrate 140 years of electricity for the capital. We have summarised some important points of this success story for you.

Logo 140 years power for Berlin

1884 - Bewag is founded as the first public German electricity supply company under the name "Städtische Elektricitäts-Werke".

1885 – Electricity consumption is measured using clock meters - readings are taken by the clockmaker

1886 – Städtische Elektricitäts-Werke takes over the construction and operation of electric street lighting

1887 – The first interconnected grid is created by connecting the grids of the Markgrafenstrasse and Mauerstrasse power stations

Cable trench

1900 – Introduction of high voltage with a voltage level of six kilovolts

1915 - Takeover of Städtische Elektricitäts-Werke by the city of Berlin

1922 – First reporting centre for faults in the power supply at Schiffbauerdamm

1923 - Conversion of the company into a municipal public limited company with the name "Berliner Städtische Elektrizitäts-Werke Aktiengesellschaft" (Bewag)

1930 - Street lighting is switched to daylight for the first time

1931 - Foundation of the "Berliner Kraft- und Licht-Aktiengesellschaft zu Berlin" to acquire the municipal electricity works as a company

1932 - Kraft- und Licht-Aktiengesellschaft zu Berlin goes public for the first time

1945 - 80 per cent of public lighting is destroyed after the Second World War

1948 - Bewag splits: West-Bewag moves to the Shellhaus in Tiergarten. Entry of East Bewag in the eastern commercial register

Cable trench with sign

Bewag cable building site in the 1950s.

1952 - Separation of interconnected operation between East and West Berlin. West Berlin becomes an electricity island. First inner-city high-voltage cable with 110,000 volts laid

1968 - Commissioning of the first gas-insulated 110 kV switchgear in Wittenau

Cable groundig with ship

A ship lays cables in the Havel.

1978/79 - Transformation of Bewag East into VEB Energieversorgung Berlin, later VEB Energiekombinat Berlin

1984 - Commissioning of the central grid control centre for West Berlin near Potsdamer Platz

1992 - East and West Berlin are reconnected electrically via a 110 kV emergency connection 

1994 - Official end of the West Berlin power island with the commissioning of a 380 kV line from Spandau to Wolmirstedt near Magdeburg

1997 - Privatisation of Bewag through the sale of the state of Berlin's shares to Southern Energy (later Mirant) and the later E.on AG. Central network control centre now manages the network throughout Berlin

2001 - Sale of the E.on and Mirant shares in Bewag to Vattenfall - establishment of an energy group known as "Neue Kraft".

2002 - "Neue Kraft" (Bewag, HEW, VEAG and Laubag) is renamed Vattenfall Europe AG

2005 - Bewag becomes Vattenfall Europe Berlin AG

2006 - The Bewag brand is replaced by Vattenfall. The Berlin electricity grid becomes an independent Vattenfall division

2013 - The Berlin Vattenfall distribution grid operator is renamed Stromnetz Berlin GmbH.

2015 - Stromnetz Berlin GmbH expands to include the grid service and metering divisions

2021 - Vattenfall sells Stromnetz Berlin GmbH to the state of Berlin. The owner is now the municipal company Berlin Energie und Netzholding (BEN)

2024 - Anniversary: 140 years of electricity supply for Berlin

Images: Bewag-Archiv / Deutsches Technikmuseum