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CORPORATION ELECTRICITY DEPARTMENT RECORD.
By J. W. Turner, M.I.E.E., Borough Electrical Engineer.
The history of the Huddersfield Corporation Electricity Department is one of remarkable development and interest, for whereas in 1913, twenty years after the supply was commenced, the consumers amounted to 1 per 31 head of the population in the area, at the end of 1935 the corresponding figures were 1 per 3.7, and the consumption per consumer for these two years was 47 and 500 units respectively.
The sanction of the Local Government Board to the borrowing of the necessary money by the Corporation for the installation of a generating station and mains for the supply of electric current was obtained in May, 1892, and the foundations for the buildings were commenced in the same month.
The opening ceremony took place on July 29th, 1893, when the Mayor (Alderman R. Hirst), Alderman J. F. Brigg and Alderman A. Haigh each started an engine, and shortly afterwards Councillor G. Garton, Chairman of the Electricity Committee, and Councillor Marshall, Deputy Chairman, switched on the two circuits into the town. A few minutes later a phone message was received that the lights in the Town Hall, the Market Hall and the main streets were burning steadily.
The cost of the original plant, buildings and mains amounted to £29,693, whereas the rates alone paid by the undertaking in 1935 totalled £18,496 17s. 6d., together with a contribution of £5,308 to the rates from the 1935 profit.
The three rope-driven generators which formed the original plant were capable of turning out 250 units of electricity per hour, and the present plant has generated 27,300 units per hour during 1935.
The extensive uses to which the public supply of electricity has been applied may be judged by the units sold in 1895, the second complete year, and each five years since :—
The number of consumers connected during 1935 was 2,989, or an average of over 57 per week, making a total of 36,693 at the end of the year.
Motors connected during the year numbered 147, with an output capacity of 1,780 horse power, or a total of 3,716 motors capable of consuming 35,970 units per hour.
On the lighting side the equivalent of 129,425 — 60 watt lamps have been added during 1935, or a total of over two millions now installed.
Electricity in the Home.
Among the great variety of heating and cooking appliances installed by consumers, electric ovens head the list, for the number fixed during 1935 was 837, bringing the total to 7,800. Other apparatus in use on hire or hire purchase includes 2,460 wash boilers and 375 water heaters.
The length of the cables laid amounts to 390 miles, of which 18 miles were laid during 1935.
Cheap and Clean.
Appreciable reductions have been made in the price of current to one or another section of its consumers each year for the last few years, and the low price to the householder of ½d. per unit for all units over 360 per quarter has been largely instrumental in creating the considerable increase of 5¾ million units sold during 1935, or a 9.2 per cent, increase on 1934.
Practically all the engineering works in the area are run by motors supplied with current from the Corporation mains, and there are few textile mills in the district which do not depend on the whole or part of their motive power or lighting from the same source. This is all tending to provide a cleaner atmosphere, for black smoke is practically non-existent from the generating station. It is difficult to visualise what the town would be like without a public supply of electricity, and there are very few districts in the whole of the country where current is obtainable at as low a price for any purpose.