Edison had invented a meter to allow customers to be billed  The difficulties of obtaining funding for such a capital intensive business was becoming a serious problem for the company and 1890 saw the first of several attempts by investor J. P. Morgan to take over Westinghouse Electric. Many modern plants now use HVDC as an Since direct current is more stable, companies are finding ways of using high voltage direct current (HVDC) to transport electricity long distances with less electricity loss.  Westinghouse won the bid to supply electrical power for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and won the major part of the contract to build Niagara Falls hydroelectric project later that year (partially splitting the contract with General Electric). As the use of AC spread rapidly, the Edison Electric Light Company claimed in early 1888 that high voltages used in an alternating current system were hazardous, and that the design was inferior to, and infringed on the patents behind, their direct current system. Edison directed his technicians, primarily Arthur Kennelly and Harold P. Brown, to preside over several AC-driven killings of animals, primarily stray cats and dogs but At that time there were 4,600 DC customers. These HVDC , Some cities continued to use DC well into the 20th century. This meant that fewer, larger generating plants could serve the load in a given area. Rice of the  By 1890 Thomson-Houston controlled the majority of the arc lighting systems in the US and a collection of its own US AC patents. from distributed sources. The reliability of the AC technology received impetus after the Ganz Works electrified the large European metropolis of Rome in 1886. During this time they sought the advice of Harold Brown as a consultant. Direct-current systems could be directly used with storage batteries, providing valuable load-leveling and backup power during interruptions of generator operation. 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.. At their November meeting the committee recommended 3000 volts although the type of electricity, direct current or alternating current, was not determined..  These stopgaps were slowly replaced as older systems were retired or upgraded. level throughout; for example, 100 volt lamps at the customer's location would be connected to a generator supplying 110 volts, the margin allowed for some voltage drop in the wires between the That same year, the Niagara Falls Power Company (NFPC) and its subsidiary Cataract Company formed the International Niagara Commission composed of In 1893, NFPC was finally convinced by George Forbes to award the contract to Westinghouse, and to reject General Electric and Edison's proposal.  Safety and avoiding the bad press of killing a customer had been one of the goals in designing his DC system and he worried that a death caused by a mis-installed AC system could hold back the use of electricity in general, Edison's understanding of how AC systems worked seemed to be extensive. City's electric utility company, Consolidated Edison, continued to supply direct current to customers who had adopted it early in the twentieth century, mainly for elevators. 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. 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. improving the reliability and efficiency of conversion between alternating and direct current, but such technology only became possible on an industrial scale starting in the 1960s. , As the number of deaths attributed to high voltage lighting around the country continued to mount, a cluster of deaths in New York City in the spring of 1888 related to AC arc lighting set off a media frenzy against the "deadly arc-lighting current" and the seemingly callous lighting companies that used it. The resulting In 1878 inventor Thomas Edison saw a market for a system that could bring electric lighting directly into a customer's business or home, a niche not served by arc lighting systems. Brown also claimed that alternating current was more dangerous than direct current and tried to prove this by publicly killing animals with both currents, with technical assistance from Edison Electric.  The City of New York did not require burying and had little in the way of regulation so by the end of 1887 the mishmash of overhead wires for telephone, telegraph, fire and burglar alarm systems in Manhattan were now mixed with haphazardly strung AC lighting system wires carrying up to 6000 volts. Alternating current power transmission networks today provide redundant paths and lines for power routing from any power plant to any and small motors could still be operated at some convenient low voltage, but the transformer would allow power to be transmitted at much higher voltages, of say, ten times that of the loads. overall. General Electric bid to electrify the fair using Edison’s direct current for $554,000, but lost to George Westinghouse, who said he could power the fair for only $399,000 using Tesla’s alternating current. Edison, not wanting to lose the royalties he was earning from his direct current patents, began a campaign to discredit alternating current. During the early years of electricity, direct current (shorthanded as DC) was the standard in the U.S.  The next month he did better in his response printed in the North American Review, pointing out that his AC/transformer system actually used lower household voltages than the Edison DC system. (See List of HVDC projects for more details.). Join the #GridWeek Twitter chat on Thursday, November 20 at 2PM EDT, when our experts will answer your questions live. Edison's response to the limitations of direct current was to generate power close to where it was consumed (today called distributed generation) and to install large conductors to handle the given amount of power, a low voltage requires a higher current and a higher voltage requires a lower current. Westinghouse Electric Corporation using Tesla's AC system patent. Using high voltage allowed an AC system to transmit power over longer distances from more efficient large central generating stations. It grew out of two lighting systems developed in the late 1870s and early 1880s; arc lamp street lighting running on high-voltage alternating current (AC), and large-scale low-voltage direct current (DC) indoor incandescent lighting being marketed by Thomas Edison's company. suitable secondary voltage. The voltage level was chosen for convenience in lamp manufacture; high-resistance carbon filament lamps could be constructed to withstand 100 volts, and to provide lighting , When the chair was first used, on August 6, 1890, the technicians on hand misjudged the voltage needed to kill William Kemmler. In 1890 a flood destroyed the Willamette Ottó Bláthy also invented the  By fall of 1886 Westinghouse, Stanley, and Oliver B. Shallenberger had built the first commercial AC power system in the US in Buffalo, New York. Electrical transmission lines cross a snow-covered field in Dallas Dam, Oregon.  When the hearing convened for a day at Edison's West Orange lab to witness demonstrations of skin resistance to electricity, Brown almost got in a fight with a Westinghouse representative, accusing him of being in the Edison laboratory to conduct industrial espionage. The advantage of AC for distributing power over a distance is due to the ease of changing voltages using a transformer.  In 1890 he told president Henry Villard he thought it was time to retire from the lighting business and moved on to an iron ore refining project that preoccupied his time. Some doubted that the system would generate enough electricity to power industry in Buffalo.  Insulation on power lines was rudimentary, with one electrician referring to it as having as much value "as a molasses covered rag", and exposure to the elements was eroding it over time. Mergers reduced competition between companies, including the merger of Edison Electric with their chief AC rival, Thomson-Houston, forming General Electric in 1892. Customers still using DC were provided with on-site AC to DC rectifiers. Aug 1, 1882.  Based on these results the Medico-Legal Society's December meeting recommended the use of 1000–1500 volts of alternating current for executions and newspapers noted the AC used was half the voltage used in the power lines over the streets of American cities. transformers were 3.4 times more efficient than the open core bipolar devices of Gaulard and Gibbs. By the early 1890s the war was winding down. Patent conflicts were stymieing the growth of both companies and the idea of saving on some 60 ongoing lawsuits as well as saving on profit losses of trying to undercut each other by selling generating plants below cost pushed forward the idea of this merger in financial circles. On Nov. 16, 1896, Buffalo was lit up by the alternating current from Niagara Falls.  Edison president Henry Villard, who had engineered the merger that formed Edison General Electric, was continually working on the idea of merging that company with Thomson-Houston or Westinghouse. General Electric was awarded contracts to build AC transmission lines and transformers in that project and further bids at Niagara were split with GE who were quickly catching up in the AC field due partly to Charles Proteus Steinmetz, a Prussian mathematician who was the first person to fully understand AC power from a solid mathematical standpoint. , Due to the hazards presented by high voltage electrical lines most European cities and the city of Chicago in the US required them to be buried underground.  By 1882 the investor-owned utility Edison Illuminating Company was established in New York City. NYC Mayor Hugh J. The October 13, 1889, New Orleans Times-Picayune noted "Death does not stop at the door, but comes right into the house, and perhaps as you are closing a door or turning on the gas you are killed. The generators were built by With Benedict Cumberbatch, Oliver Powell, Sophia Ally, Tuppence Middleton. Nikola Tesla - War of the Currents.  Pacific Gas and Electric Company still provides DC power to some locations in San Francisco, primarily for elevators, supplied by close to 200 rectifiers each providing power for 7–10 customers..  Soon after the execution by electricity bill passed in June 1888, Edison was asked by a New York government official what means would be the best way to implement the state's new form of execution.
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