Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Battle Over Lighting (Part 3)

Submitted by Heartland Energy Colorado

Cities Service was a model for a much larger public utility empire created by Samuel Insull, who started out as the English representative of a U.S. bank representing Thomas Edison’s interests in London. He ended up working directly for Edison as his private secretary by day and learned the electricity-generating business at the Pearl Street plant by night. He eventually rose to third place in the newly formed General Electric, a merger involving Edison Electric, then to Chief Executive of Chicago Edison, and finally to chairman of Peoples Gas in Chicago, where he managed a corporate turnaround. This string of success led to the 1912 founding of Middle West Utilities and later to Insull Utility Investments, both holding companies for electric and gas utilities. By 1926 Insull’s utility empire encompassed 6,000 communities across thirty-two states, and by 1930 it has grown to four million customers and 12 percent of the nation’s electricity-generating and gas-distribution capacity.

The War Industries Board encouraged the formation of nationwide industrial organizations to carry out its mandate to coordinate the nation’s industrial activities during World War I. Natural gas suppliers responded by combining several predecessor organizations into the American Gas Association (AGA) in 1918 to centralize the exchange of information, set industry-wide standards, and encourage cooperation and coordination among its members. The AGA also represented the industry viewpoint to the public, at Congressional hearings, and before natural gas regulatory bodies. The complete conversion of natural gas from lighting to cooking and heating took place at this time, symbolized by natural gas being sold in units of energy (British Thermal Units – BTU) rather than units of illumination (Candlepower).

Heartland Energy Colorado is one of the top hydrocarbon-based energy providers in the USA. They have many drilling locations throughout the country and remain one of the top producers of US oil & gas companies. For more information on Heartland Energy Colorado, see Heartland Energy Development Corporation online.

(Source: "Energy for the 21st Century," Nersesian)

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