IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2017 - 101

turbine units had been installed. Normally, it takes some time for such units
to spin down in the event of a problem.
However, the much-greater friction present in a reciprocating engine means that
it could be brought to a standstill in a
very short amount of time. Accordingly, the Waterside operators learned that
they could isolate a defective turbine
unit and leave it connected to one engine
unit. Then closing the throttle for the
engine would cause both units to spin
down very rapidly, the two generators
(with fields still energized) acting like a
giant Selsyn system.
An even more fascinating procedure was put into place in the event
of a complete shutdown of the 25-Hz
supply from Waterside. However, this
involved restarting the many rotary
converters in the various substations.
When Waterside was prepared to resume the production of 25-Hz power,
the operators in all of the rotary substations would be notified. They, in
turn, would connect at least one rotary
in each substation to the 25-Hz feeder
and energize the field of the rotary
from the station battery. At Waterside, one large generator would then
slowly be brought up to speed with
its field energized as well. The connected rotaries would come up along
with the generator, again acting as a
huge (multiterminal) Selsyn system.
It was so important for all operators
to understand this procedure that it
was rehearsed fairly often, at times of
light electrical load on the system. It is
not clear, however, that the procedure
was ever actually needed. Waterside I
and II were retired from electrical and
steam supply service in 2005.
In 2007, the Consolidated Edison
(Con Ed) Company published a beautiful little book, The History of the Waterside Ge nerating Station (1901-2005),
written by Con Ed engineer Robert David, which immortalized the 100-year
history of this very significant generating complex. The author indicates that
the total capacity of the two stations
was about 210,000 kW in 1911 (following the renovation of Waterside I),
and by the 1960s, the capacity of the

two stations had reached a level of about
650,000 kW.

System Operator
Apparently there was no centralized
supervision of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company's string of dc
stations during the 1890s. They would
have had telephone communications to

coordinate any switching operations.
The first indication of a system operator (compared to the dispatcher of a
steam railway system) was in 1902 at
Waterside I. A rather primitive display
board was installed in a room adjacent to the elevated control room. This
board depended on the manual placement of colored tags by the operator to

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