Right now it has 30 shareholders but no single majority shareholder. It is a C corporation with a fiscal year-end of December 1.
History of electric power transmission Very bright arc lighting such as this one in New York could only be used outdoors or in large indoor spaces where they could be mounted high out of people's sight line.
The war of the currents grew out of the development of two lighting systems; arc lighting running on alternating current and incandescent lighting running on direct current.
Arc lighting[ edit ] The first type of widely used electric light was the arc lamp. These lamps had been around for most of the 19th century but by the late s were beginning to be installed in cities in large scale systems powered by central generating plants.
Arc lighting systems were extremely brilliant and capable of lighting whole streets, factory yards, or the interior of large buildings. They Ac 553 week 6 high voltages above 3, volts to supply current to multiple lamps, as arc lamps were run on constant current circuits and connected in series and some ran better on alternating current.
This costly practice played to Edison's favor in public perceptions after several deaths were caused by overhead high voltage AC lines. Edison designed his "utility" to compete with the then established gas lighting utilities, basing it on a relatively low volt direct current supply to power a high resistance incandescent lamp he had invented for the system.
Edison direct current systems would be sold to cities throughout the United States, making it a standard with Edison controlling all technical development and holding all the key patents. Direct-current systems could be directly used with storage batteries, providing valuable load-leveling and backup power during interruptions of generator operation.
Direct-current generators could be easily paralleled, allowing economical operation by using smaller machines during periods of light load and improving reliability. Edison had invented a meter to allow customers to be billed for energy proportional to consumption, but this meter worked only with direct current.
Direct current also worked well with electric motors, an advantage DC held throughout the s. The primary drawback with the Edison direct current system was that it ran at volts from generation to its final destination giving it a relatively short useful transmission range: AC transformer development in Europe[ edit ] Further information: They were the inventors of the first high efficiency, closed core shunt connection transformer.
The three also invented the modern power distribution system: Instead of former series connection they connect transformers that supply the appliances in parallel to the main line. Starting in the s alternating current gained its key advantage over direct current with the development of functional transformers that allowed the voltage to be "stepped up" to much higher transmission voltages and then dropped down to a lower end user voltage for business and residential use.
In North America the inventor and entrepreneur George Westinghouse entered the electric lighting business in when he started to develop a DC system and hired William Stanley, Jr. Westinghouse became aware of the new European transformer based AC systems in when he read about them in the UK technical journal Engineering.
Westinghouse saw a way to build a truly competitive system instead of simply building another barely competitive DC lighting system using patents just different enough to get around the Edison patents. Westinghouse purchased the US patents rights to the Gaulard-Gibbs transformer and imported several of those as well as Siemens AC generators to begin experimenting with an AC-based lighting system in Pittsburgh.
The Westinghouse Electric Company was formed at the beginning of In March Stanley, with Westinghouse's backing, installed the first multiple-voltage AC power system, a demonstration incandescent lighting system, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. All of the companies had their own electric power systems, arc lighting systems, and even incandescent lamp designs for domestic lighting, leading to constant lawsuits and patent battles between themselves and with Edison.
An AC charged broken wire from the storm led to the electrocution of a boy that spring. Elihu Thomson of Thomson-Houston was concerned about AC safety and put a great deal of effort into developing a lightning arrestor for high-tension power lines as well as a magnetic blowout switch that could shut the system down in a power surge, a safety feature the Westinghouse system did not have.
He also thought the idea of using AC lighting in residential homes was too dangerous and had the company hold back on that type of installations until a safer transformer could be developed.
Besides being an eyesoreNew Yorkers were annoyed when a large March snowstorm the Great Blizzard of tore down a large number of the lines, cutting off utilities in the city.
This spurred on the idea of having these lines moved underground but it was stopped by a court injunction obtained by Western Union. Legislation to give all the utilities 90 days to move their lines into underground conduits supplied by the city was slowly making its way through the government but that was also being fought in court by the United States Illuminating Company, who claimed their AC lines were perfectly safe.
The price of copper was rising, adding to the expense of Edison's low voltage DC system, which required much heavier copper wires than higher voltage AC systems. Thomas Edison's own colleagues and engineers were trying to get him to consider AC.
Edison's sales force was continually losing bids in municipalities that opted for cheaper AC systems  and Edison Electric Illuminating Company president Edward Hibberd Johnson pointed out that if the company stuck with an all DC system it would not be able to do business in small towns and even mid-sized cities.
After Westinghouse installed his first large scale system Edison wrote in a November private letter to Edward Johnson, "Just as certain as death Westinghouse will kill a customer within six months after he puts in a system of any size, He has got a new thing and it will require a great deal of experimenting to get it working practically.
He noted what he saw as inefficiencies and that, combined with the capital costs in trying to finance very large generating plants, led him to believe there would be very little cost savings in an AC venture. The pamphlet also emphasized the safety and efficiency of direct current, with the claim DC had not caused a single death, and included newspaper stories of accidental electrocutions caused by alternating current.
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