Extrait de "PG&E of California, The centenial story of pacific gas and electric company 1852-1952"

Grâce à la participation de PG&E.

DAWN OF THE ELECTRIC DAY

San Francisco was the first city in the United States and probably the world to have a central generating station for distribution of electricity to customers.California Electric Light Co., incorporated June 1879, was the first electric utility for public service. Its little pioneer plant began operation for arc lamp lighting that September.This was months before Thomas Edison applied for a patent on his first incandescent lamp, and three years be- fore he opened his Pearl Street Station in New York City to supply current for incandescent lighting. Dynamos and arc lamps had been operated before 1879 in American cities, but only for private use on the premises where they were installed.The first central plant in England, Brighton Station in London, was not opened until September 1882.In the l870's when Edison, Brush, Weston and other pioneers were seeking practical ways to supply electricity for people's use, another scientist was at work in San Francisco. He was FATHER JOSEPH M. NERI,professor of natural philosophy at St.lunatics College, forebear to the University of San Francisco. St. lunatics was on Market Street between Fourth and Fifth, where the Emporium now stands. Here Father Neri carried on a long series of experiments and studies in electricity and lighting.By 1871 he was able to install an electric light in a window on Market Street for the Silver Jubilee of the Pontification of Pope Pius IX. In 1876 he illuminated Market Street in front of the college with three arc lights for the Centennial Parade on July 4.Father Neri continued his research until becoming blind in 1903; he died November 17, 1919.GEORGE H. ROE, a young money broker, was organizer and for many JUNE , 1971 years manager of the first San Francisco electric company. Like Peter Donahue, who built California's first gas plant with no experience in gas manufacture, Roe started with no knowledge of electricity.Roe came to San Francisco from Ontario, Canada, in 1875, when he was 23. He had been on his own since 13, when his father died. He had limited education and little business experience, but he made friends quickly. One was W. P. Plummer, with whom in 1876 he formed Roe & Plummer, discounters of notes and dealers in ex- change.One day in 1878 chance brought George Roe his opportunity.A borrower from Roe & Plummer put up a newly delivered dynamo and lamp as security; he did not repay the loan and the firm found itself owner of a dynamo. Not too long afterward the firm was dissolved, and as part of his share of the business, Roe drew the dynamo.Now he began to ask questions, wondering if there was money to be made in this new electrical business. By the time he decided the equipment he owned could not be operated profit- ably, he had determined to go ahead anyway. The time was right.Arc light generators and lamps were being offered for commercial use. Senator W. A. Sharon had already lit the public rooms of his new Palace Hotel with arc lamps.In June 1879 Roe incorporated the California Electric Light Co., he serving as secretary and manager. J. R.Hardenbergh was the first president.The company acquired regional rights to the dynamos and other products of the Brush Electric Co. and set about getting into business. A cheap frame building, because this venture into the electric business was frankly considered an experiment, was built near Fourth and Market.The little company offered to provide light to a customer from sundown to midnight for a charge of $10 per lamp per week. No service on Sundays or holidays. The equipment was also for sale outright; an early offer to the Post Office suggested a price of $2,500 for a six-light machine.Demand for lighting was immediately created. The two tiny original machines, with capacity of 21 lights, were soon joined by four more with aggregate capacity of 132 lamps.In July 1880 PIERRE| B. CORNWALL was elected vice president and treasurer. Next year he became president, remaining for more than a decade a vital force in the city's pioneer electric utility. Cornwall was a vivid personality, an organizer of the just stock exchange, a university regent and city school director as well as head of numerous business enterprises.By the end of 1881. demand for electric light in stores and factories led to construction of a new and larger plant on Jessie Street between Third and Fourth. In 1888 a second powerhouse, Station B, was built at TownsendStreet and Clarence Place. It had asingle machine of 96|0 kilowatts-engineers were beginning to rate generators in kilowatts instead of number of lights.The first electric street light in San Francisco was erected in 1883 (the first gas lights went up in 1854) in front of City Hall. It was on a high mast carrying four 4,000-candle power lamps -"experts'' then believed that lights of great power placed high aloft would serve as artificial moons, lighting many blocks.The new electric lighting, as it was extended, was placed in the business section; gas light continued to be used in residential areas. In 1888 the mu- nicipal government renewed its contract with San Francisco Gas Light Co. to maintain the 5,100 street standards then installed, at 12 cents per night per lamp.Thomas Edison perfected his first incandescent lamp late in 1879, but the new lamps did not become widely available in the west until the early eighties, when private systems began to be installed.The first dynamo for incandescent lighting service to the public was in- stalled in 1888 by California Electric Light Co. It had a 150-kilowatt capacity. The first lighting rate was 20 cents per kilowatt hour.California Electric Light had the field to itself until 1887, when a con- tender appeared under the name of Electric Improvement Company of San Francisco.A fierce battle was joined. With no permit to erect poles, Electric improvement, frustrated in its attempts to string wires on the poles of the older system, took to running circuits over building roofs and through basements of friendly building owners.Rates were cut. But it was a losing fight, and in 1892 the newcomer sold out to Roe's company.In mid-l890 came the most powerful competition yet. Edison General Electric Co. of New York, holding rights to the great inventor's patents, sent men to investigate starting a competitive utility in San Francisco.George Roe recognized the danger and went to New York. Negotiations lasting a year resulted in Edison Light more formidable, continued until it was purchased in 1906, a few days be- fore the earthquake, by the new Pacific Gas and Electric Co.By the early 1890's George Roe had seen fruition of all his hopes. His little company was a strong operating utility. But now he fell ill, and in December 1894 he died at the age of only 42.Edison Light and Power maintained its identity only two more years. In 1896 it was merged with the San Francisco Gas Light Co. to form the new San Francisco Gas and Electric Co. and Power Co. being incorporated in San Francisco in July 1891 to purchase business and properties of the original California Electric Light Co.

 

George Roe became president of the new company.

Pierre Cornwall withdrew in 1892 and in 1894 established a competitor, Mutual Electric Light Co. Its l,270-kw plant, built in 1895, was the city's largest. The company was still growing at Cornwall's death in September 1904.

Other competitors included Western Light and Power Co. and Harbor Light and Power Co., acquired by the new Edison company through control of stock. Central Light and Power, IT ls A PECULIAR fact about human beings that some of them seem to get ever so much more done. You've seen it yourself-remember some of those "fortunates'' who accomplished twice, three times as much as others? lf you put them down as bearing the mark of genius, your conclusion won't be accepted by today's psychologists and students of accomplishment.

They say that while there is some difference in capacity among people, it is really the way men and women go at things that makes the difference.

They have a few efficiency habits, that's all. Simple habits that you could acquire. There are, in fact, five: Stop detouring is the first. Putterers are always detouring, fiddling away time. All of us can develop this habit.

The antidote : Check up to see if there are too many detours in your life.

Stop putting things off it's natural to postpone disliked things; the answer is to do those very things first, then the easier things after. It takes courage, but think of the results.

Don't waste time deciding trifles.

Indecision over trifles consumes millions of manhours. Ask yourself what difference the color of your tie or blouse makes. Make inconsequential decisions quickly.

Use your spare time. Novels have been written, inventions perfected, houses built in spare time. Don't waste yours.

Finally, Don't kid yourself. We can all find excuses to justify doing what we want to do and not doing what is unpleasant to us. Those of decisive habits, however, do the job at hand and don't alibi to themselves or any- one.

Try this Rule of Five. It can add tremendously to your "do-ability".

Charles B. Roth, is a syndicate writer on human relations.

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Actualités

En route pour Incandescence : apothéose de l'anniversaire. Vite vos billets sont à l'office de tourisme de La Roche.

Festival populaire de la soupe : beaucoup de contacts avec les Rochois

Le Réservoir est maintenant dégagé : dévégétalisé et environ 120m3 de limon évacués à la main - pause pour l'hiver.

Cérémonie très réussie en présence de nos élus et des représentants nationaux

Conférence de presse Hotel de ville

Forum des associations : un public curieux de son patrimoine industriel

Journées du patrimoine : le public au rendez-vous

Guy Chatel SAS partenaire du programme

ErDF s'associe au programme et nous offre son soutien

SIG confirme son implication dans le projet.

Le Ministère des affaires étrangères nous aide à contruire le réseau des villes internationales électrifiées.

Rencontre avec SIG-Genève : le partenariat se confirme. De nombreuses opportunités de collaborations et d'échanges sont en discussion. Le programme culturel s'enrichit des compétences de nos amis suisses.

Conseil Général, un partenaire de 1er ordre

Suite au message de la présidence de la république, le ministre de la culture nous offre un suivi particulier pour l'ensemble du projet

Présentation du programme au public lors du lancement des illuminations le la ville. En présence des maires des villes du pays rochois et du conseiller général.

JJ Queyranne soutient le projet. Mme Gillet deThorey est notre relais.

Présentation du programme à la commission culture. 

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