Davao Light & Power Company was incorporated in 1929 by Patrick Henry Frank, Relatives and Associates. Negotiations for the purchase of Davao Light by the Aboitiz Group was seriously undertaken in late 1941 but was subsequently aborted due to the outbreak of World War II.
During the war, most of the utility was destroyed as its power plant and facilities were prime targets of Japanese and American bombers. When the smoke cleared, only a second-hand, war-damaged, 300-horsepower Fairbanks Morse Diesel engine was left.
Negotiations resumed during the post-war era and Davao Light was finally acquired on the 25th of July, 1946 by Don Ramon Aboitiz, Relatives and Associates through the efforts of Francisco Such, then resident manager of Ormoc Electric Light Company.
From that time on, Such oversaw the rebuilding and operating of Davao Light’s remaining assets until 1952 when Edson Canova took over the management seat. Shortly thereafter, Luis Aboitiz, Jr. joined the company and was later on followed by Ernesto Aboitiz. It was at this point in time where the marginal growths started to take place.
Early in the 1950s, much of Davao City’s economy relied on agriculture and the only major use of electricity was for lighting up houses at night. Hence, Davao Light pursued an aggressive marketing and production strategy by opening a Davao agency for Aboitiz & Company whose sole purpose was to sell various electrical equipment in order to introduce electrical usage to the populace. Results were an increase in peak capacity from 1,500 kW in 1952 to 26,500 kW in 1970. Execution of improved methods of production such as the acquisition of bigger engines and heavy fuel translated into savings for its 10,000 plus consumers. In 1963, it was the first utility in the Philippines to use Bunker Fuel on Diesel Engines.
Davao Light pioneered rural electrification using single-phase lines to step down voltages for isolated farmers in the outlying areas of Davao City. It was also the first electric utility in the Philippines to use aluminum conductor reinforced steel (ACSR) for its transmission lines to replace copper, thus, allowing pole installation at greater intervals.
Since its existence, Davao Light has been the sole electric utility operator in Davao City. Even after the organization of electric cooperatives in 1974 when several private utilities were transformed into cooperatives by national policy, Davao Light continued its operations on account of its proven track record of experience, financial stability and efficiency.
In 1976, it expanded its franchise to the municipalities of Carmen, Panabo and Santo Tomas by referendum. The municipality of Dujali was formed in 1998 out of certain portions of Panabo and Carmen.
The technical expertise of Davao Light’s key personnel brought the company to the forefront of the development of mini hydroelectric generating plants. From diesel-fed generating sets in the beginning, the utility switched to more economical heavy fuels. It operated mini hydros but later on hooked up with the Mindanao Grid of the National Power Corporation (NPC) in 1979 making it an exclusive distributor of electricity as it is today.