The West Kootenay Power and Light Company was incorporated in 1897 to supply power to the booming mines of Rossland. A hydro electric generating plant was built at Lower Bonnington Falls on the Kootenay River.
Power was delivered to Rossland over a 20,000 volt transmission line 32 miles (52kms) – the longest and highest voltage transmission line in the world at the time.
One of the early customers of W.K.P. & L was the struggling little smelter at Trail. At one stage the W.K.P. & L threatened to terminate service to the smelter because of an overdue account. The same smelter ultimately grew into the world wide Cominco complex of today and in 1916 the W.K.P & L Co. became its wholly owned subsidiary.
Abundant low cost power from the subsequent W.K.P. & L hydro plants on the Kootenay River made possible the future growth of the largest base metal plant in the world at Trail.