San Francisco Electric Company

Thursday, June 29 — The first electric power company in America, and perhaps the world, was formed this week in 1879 in San Francisco. This was nearly four months before Thomas Edison successfully tested his practical incandescent light bulb. The power supplied by the California Electric Light Company illuminated some three dozen arc lamps in downtown hotels and businesses. This electric supplier was the predecessor to the current Pacific Gas and Electric Company.


Today, there are over 7,500 electric power distribution establishments nationwide, employing around 360,000 workers. Utilities in general, including water, sewer and gas, employ around 638,000 workers, and have annual revenues of more than $530 billion.


Profile America is in its 21st year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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