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Early Electrification of Buffalo: 60-Hz Replaces 25-Hz

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This is Part 12 of a 14 part series.
Figure 12.1   Niagara Mohawk- Western Division  Graph of 25-Hz & 60 Hz Load
Figure 12.1 Niagara Mohawk- Western Division Graph of 25-Hz & 60 Hz Load
 

This brings us up to 1930 when another great event took place, the start of the 60-Hz system in Western New York and the conversion from 25-Hz to 60-Hz. As outlined below, the conversion in Buffalo took 76 years [Fig 12.1]. (Refer to the two-part article '25-Hz at Niagara Falls - end of an era on the Niagara Frontier' in the Jan/Feb and Mar/Apr 2008 issues of IEEE Power& Energy magazine; author’s recollections.)

Figure 12.2   1947 - No New 25-Hz Customers
Figure 12.2 1947 - No New 25-Hz Customers

1947 - The beginning of end of the 25-Hz system when the company announced no new 25-hz customers [Fig. 12.2]. In 1949 the last arc lights were discontinued. They were on Main Street in downtown Buffalo.i

Figure12.3  1952 - Niagara Mohawk Western Division 60-Hz Peak Exceeds the 25-Hz Peak
Figure12.3 1952 - Niagara Mohawk Western Division 60-Hz Peak Exceeds the 25-Hz Peak

1952 - Western Division 60-Hz peak load exceeded the 25-Hz peak load [Fig12.3]. In 1956 the Buffalo downtown dc Edison System was shut down.

Figure 12.4   1956 - Schoellkopf Disaster
Figure 12.4 1956 - Schoellkopf Disaster

1956 - Schoellkopf disaster which destroyed Stations 3B and 3C [Fig. 12.4]. 25 Hz was still available from other sources but at a higher cost. In the 1960’s the Shredded Wheat Company in Niagara Falls was the last two-phase four-wire customer.

Figure 12.5   1998 - PSC Approves Elimination of 25-Hz
Figure 12.5 1998 - PSC Approves Elimination of 25-Hz

1998 - New York Public service Commission approves the elimination of the 25-Hz system by December 31, 2007 [Fig. 12.5]. Customer contributions were required if repairs exceed $25,000. In 2002 the company initiated an incentive program that provided a limited matching grant to retrofit customer equipment for 60-Hz operation

Figure 12.6   2006 - Downed Transmission Conductors End 25-Hz Service
Figure 12.6 2006 - Downed Transmission Conductors End 25-Hz Service

2006 - On October 12 at 8:53 pm, 66-kV transmission conductors came down during the ‘October Surprise’ snow storm. The five remaining customers elected not to contribute to the cost of repairs. Thus ended almost 110 years of 25-Hz service in Buffalo [Fig. 12.6}.

Next: Contributions of Five AIEE Presidents


References

i. Related to the author by Jack Pfohl NMP Electric Planner, ca. 1953. ==