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A careful study of the lighting situation in San Francisco has been made by officials of the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company, and the situation can hardly be regarded as encouraging. San Francisco has been without gas and electricity since the earthquake, and while the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company is now prepared to resume street lighting along three lighting routes agreed upon by the municipal authorities and the citizens' committee on lighting, the amount of light and power the company can furnish will be limited for some time by the capacity of its generating plant at the Potrero. Its other electric plants and all its gas plants will be out of commission for some time.

The San Francisco Gas and Electric Company announces that it is ready and has been for three days to start its Potrero generating plant. It is now waiting for a permit to resume operations. This permit will be issued by the lighting committee of which Rudolph Spreckels is chairman and Chief Hewitt of the Department of Electricity. When this plant reopens street arc lights will be provided along three different lighting routes, covering the principal section of the unburned district and light and power will be provided to various industrial plants that have already been granted permits to resume operations when power is available. It is thought that the Potrero plant may be started within a day or two.

The only other electric generating plant not crippled by the earthquake and fire is that of the Mutual Electric Light and Power Company on Spear street. The Mutual company finds itself in a position to resume operations on a large scale. The only damage it suffered was confined to one of its water pipes, which has already been repaired. Many industrial concerns and other business enterprises in the burned district have already arranged with the Mutual to be supplied with light and power, and It is thought the company will be running at its full capacity within a few days.

The San Francisco Gas and Electric Company suffered immense loss by earthquake and fire. Its immense gas plant at North Beach, near the foot of Fillmore street, was not touched by the fire, but was badly wrecked by the earthquake. The immense brick structures that house the company's works at that point present one of the most picturesque wrecks to be found in the city. Just how serious the damage is, and how long it will take to get the plant in working order again, has not been determined. The main gas holder, which is the largest in the city, seems to have escaped serious injury, although its foundations were somewhat disturbed. There was a noticeable sinking of the ground around the foundations.

The prospect of securing gas for lighting and heating purposes seems to be more remote than the prospect for a resumption of electric lighting. The San Francisco Gas and Electric Company has found that its underground conduits are in fairly good shape, but that its gas mains, like the water mains throughout the city, have been more or less injured.

That innumerable leaks occurred in the gas mains as a result of the earthquake was pretty well demonstrated on the first day of the trouble, as well as on the succeeding day, when countless explosions, due to the accumulation of escaping gas, occurred beneath the street pavements. It will take some time to repair these breaks and until all breaks are repaired gas cannot be turned into the mains. On the other hand, temporary wires for carrying electric current can be strung on poles, and are being so strung quite generally throughout the city.

San Francisco Chronicle
April 30, 1906

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