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Join date : 2010-12-03

PostSubject: Chicago Edison    Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:32 pm

Upon his arrival, Insull found that Chicago Edison was one of nearly 30 electric companies operating in Chicago, all competing for business. While prevailing opinion at the time held that competition between the many companies was the best way to improve service and keep prices low, Insull believed that a regulated monopoly, giving exclusive operating rights in a specific territory to one company in exchange for state control over service terms and prices, would be most beneficial for both utilities and customers. While state regulation did not begin until 1914, Insull began forming a monopoly on electric service by acquiring many of his competitors. By 1895, he had acquired enough of them, and their rights to use the different manufacturers' equipment, that he had obtained a complete monopoly on electric service in Chicago Edison's territory.[7]
Insull also initiated construction of a much larger power plant on Harrison Street, west of the Chicago River. While its original capacity of 6,400 kilowatts, twice that of the Adams Street Station and the largest in the United States, seemed wildly optimistic when it opened in August, 1894, Insull believed that the economy of scale provided by such a large station would offset the initial cost. Aside from this point, the size of the station allowed it to replace the Adams Street Station, which had become both overloaded and obsolescent. Insull's optimism was rapidly justified: the Harrison Street Station reached its original capacity within the first several years, and was expanded to 16,200 kilowatts by 1903.[8]
In 1907, Chicago Edison combined with Commonwealth Electric to form Commonwealth Edison Company. Six years later, it absorbed the independent Cosmopolitan Electric Company, and with that purchase effectively obtained a monopoly on electric service in Chicago.[9]

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