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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/598

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582
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

feet, we have $20,000 a year as the expenditure under this head, which is probably well within the actual figures of most American works. In the case of the electric plant four per cent is a sufficient allowance for the same item, which gives a yearly charge of $12,000, and a cost of six cents per 1,000 feet.

Depreciation of this part of the plant varies but little with different works, as the conditions upon which it depends are relatively constant, but that of the mains is, on the other hand, exceedingly variable. In a dry, open soil, gas-mains will last a great length of time, and even when they become entirely rusted through they will still continue efficient if undisturbed. They do not, however, remain undisturbed, so that in the most favorable conditions some expenditure is necessary to keep them in working condition. We shall probably not be far wrong if we take this at two per cent of the entire cost of the mains, which includes, of course, that of laying them. This item then becomes in the case of our gas plant $5,000 per year, and 212 cents per 1,000 feet. In the case of the electric mains, this percentage must be reckoned only upon their cost, exclusive of the copper, as this latter is practically indestructible, and can be used again and again. The amount upon which to reckon the two per cent depreciation is therefore $2,200 X 50$110,000, and the yearly charge $2,200, which gives 1·1 cent per 1,000 feet. The interest on the investment is the same in each case, and amounts to $24,000 a year, at four per cent, and to 12 cents per 1,000 feet. These items include all that are properly chargeable to the expense account of the plant save taxes, which would be about the same in each case, and which maybe neglected for the present. The plant account, then, stands, in the two cases, for each thousand feet or its equivalent:

Gas. Electricity.
Interest 12 · 12 ·
Depreciation of producing works 10 · 6 ·
"of mains 2 ·5 1 ·1
——— ———
Total 24 ·5 19 ·1
19 ·1
———
Balance in favor of electricity 5 ·4

The items entering into the cost of coal-gas are, exclusive of management, rent and taxes, etc., the cost of coal, of manufacturing, and of distribution. Taking the last first, we find 4·4 cents per 1,000 feet as the cost of this item for the four metropolitan companies. Putting this at 5 cents for American works, and deducting from this 212 cents for the depreciation of mains, which is included in this charge, there is left 212 cents for the cost of the labor of inspection of meters, etc., which constitutes the charge of distribution, and which would be about the same in both systems.

As the depreciation of the mains is not given separately, this item is liable to error, due to a wrong estimate of such depreciation, but, as it affects both systems similarly, it will not vitiate the results. Under