Publication: Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado Springs, CO, United States
TELLS OF CONTROVERSY
HENRY FLOY PUBLISHES BOOK
Writes Exhaustively of Long Dispute
Between City and
Many conclusions of great interest to the citizens of Colorado Springs are drawn by Henry Floy, the New York electrical expert who represented the city in the recent lighting controversy with the Hydro-Electric company to a book of 325 pages which has just been published. A resume of the history of the controversy including the evidence taken, the award granted and a number of deductions made by Mr. Floy from what was brought out in the arbitration forms the main portion of the book.
The slipshod manner in which civic bodies as a rule are accustomed to doing important business is referred to by Mr. Floy, who says that important technical matters are too frequently settled by members of civic bodies without the aid of adequate technical advice. Neither the city of Colorado Springs nor the Pikes Peak Hydro-Electric company, he says, can ever hope to be directly repaid for the expenditure made, but if the information evolved can be made instrumental in avoiding similar controversies in the future over lighting contracts, the whole electrical fraternity will be benefited.
Good Advertisement for City.
The book will be in a manner an excellent advertisement for Colorado Springs, especially in the electrical world. The frontispiece is an engraving of the Colorado Springs city hall. Mr Floy gives this city the credit of being the first to settle many questions in the electrical business that have bothered civic bodies and electrical companies in many cities of this country. The book is on sale at Whittney & Greenwood's. The following are the conclusions drawn by Mr. Floy from his experience in the arbitration.
Mr. Floy's Conclusions.
The Colorado Springs controversy again emphasizes the importance of having every business transaction fully and promptly recorded in writing, particularly when carried on with public bodies, which are continually changing their personality. Failure in this particular was the flaw in the arguement of the Pikes Peak Hydro-Electric company, that the light from the 6.6 ampere, inclosed, alternating current arc lamp had been accepted as a equivalent to that required under the Jackson franchise. Any such interpretation of the franchise should at least have been incorporated in the resolution passed by the City Council January 16, 1905. It will be noticed that the resolution of the City Council of the date January 16, 1905, authorized the Pikes Peak Hydro-Electric company to begin the use of city water and furnishing of light authorized several modifications to the service contracted to be rendered the city by the electric company, and if the Council intended accepting the 8.6 ampere series, alternating current lamp as fulfillment of the contract, there should have been little difficulty in incorporating a clause in the resolution legalizing the substitution.
The controversy illustrates the amazing neglect of bodies constitution to represent the public in determining important matters without proper expert advice. The Jackson franchise anticipating the expenditure of several hundred thousand dollars for defective lighting was drawn without complete knowledge as to what was desired or provided by its terms with the too frequent result that the controversy over the interpretation of the clause in question, cost the city several thousands of dollars besides dissatisfaction and ill feeling on both sides.
The advantages of having a technically educated tribunal to get at the "real right" of an enginering matter, without undue regard for purely legal points or procedure, are too apparent to need emphasis. The attorney's for both parties to the case were the only ones who felt called upon to apologize for their perfectly pardonable lack of knowledge of the terms and details involved which they frankly did.
The agreement of arbitration was defective in the following:
(a) If it had been agreed, by both parties to the arbitration, that monetary award whould be made on the basis of candle-power furnished, to that called for in the Jackson franchise, it was not clearly so set forth in the agreement.
(b) The agreement only provided for a settlement of damages for defective lighting up to the time of beginning the hearings. It made no provision for a decision or recommendation by the arbitrators as to the form of lighting to be furnished for the remainder of the life of the franchise. The result has been that up to the present, the city has absolutely declined to make further payment to the company for light furnished since January, 1907. The company does not want to revert to the use of the old open, direct current arc lamp and has been unable to get the city representatives to commit themselves to the use of any other particular lamp as satisfactory.
Hearing Was Too Long.
(c) The clause of the agreement allowing either party to the controversy to introduce "all and every kind of evidence that it may desire, etc." was too liberal. It resulted in repetitions and undue prolongation of the hearings, which the arbitrators were powerless to prevent owing to this express stipulation in the contract under which they were appointed.
It has been made clear, as a result of this arbitration, that in the future American municipalities will not pay full price for inferior service. Usually lighting companies have not been accustomed to make any reduction from their bills unless streetlamps are extinguished, but the Colorado Springs award has demonstrated that a company is responsible for damages accruing from not keeping its lamps burning at normal brilliancy.
What Was Accomplished.
The controversy empasized the recent development of thought in the art of lighting by distinguishing the relation between candlepower and illumination. The arbitrators in determining the "real right of the matter," were unwilling to consider only the candlepower maximum, mean-spherical, or mean-hemispherical - in comparing the light of the franchise with that actually furnished. Although not wholly complete, the expert testimony indicated that, as ordinarily operated in America, the street illuminating service tendered by a 6.6 ampere alternating current series, inclosed arc lamp, was about as satisfactory as that by a 9.6 ampere, direct-current series open arc lamp.
The expenditure of money, time, and energy involved in interpreting the Jackson franchise will probably never be all directly repaid the city of Colorado Springs or the Pikes Peak Hydro-Electric company, but if the information and expenditures they evolved can indicate how to avoid in the future controversies over arc lighting contracts the whole electrical fraternity has benefited immensely.
|Date completed:||October 4, 2007 by: Bob Stahr;|