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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 21, 1916, NOON EDITION, Image 4

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-01-21/ed-1/seq-4/

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INSULL .WANTS TO CHANGE GAS AGREEMENT
DOESN'T LIKE LITIGATION
Sam Insull, white-whiskered and
florid-faced king n the public util
ities companies of nBirois, came be
fore the aldermanic gas committee
yesterday to make new gas rates for
the people of Chicago. It happens
to be a very opportune time for Sam
to make rates. He has refused the
city access to the books of the gas
company, because it might help
them to get in pending litigation
over $10,000,000 overcharges to the
people of Chicago by the company.
Now the city, in order to make a
fair rate, has to know the exact
value of the plant and property of
the gas company. The gas com
pany wants to boost the valuation as
much as possible, because the more
their plant is worth the higher rate
they can charge to get a"fair return
on the investment." That Is why an
in-between valuation is being made.
That is why Insull kindly offers to let
one gas engineer representing the
city go in and help the fellows he has
hired, and that is why the gas com
pany is so eager to make new rates.
But Insull still refuses to allow the
city full and -free access to the mys
terious documents known as the
books of the gas company. In re
cent years many valuations of the
property have been made by engi
neers of the city and the public util
ities commission. Averse to the use
of stronger language, Insull called
these reports ridiculous. Then he
went on to say that this in-between
valuation would clear up for all time
the allegation that the plant of the
gas company was overcapitalized.
Now a new method of making gas
has sprung up. It is the heat unit
standard, a coal gas, while Chicago's
present supply is made of coke and
gas oil and has to measure up to cer
tain standard of candle power. In
sull says most Chicagoans use man
lies, and goes on to argue in favor
of the heat unit standard. He prom
ises a lower rate, but refuses to say
how much lower it will be. He says
it will also increase the use of gas
for manufacturing purposes.
The gas company uses thousands
of carloads of oil yearly. Insull says
that If the city does nofpermit the
company to make gas from coal he
will go before the public utilities
commission and ask for higher rates.
Oil's gone up, he repeated many
times.
One of the things the books of the
company will reveal is whether or
not the gas company has a contract
for this oil, how much it costs them
and how long the contract runs.
If they have a ten-year contract
made a short time ago and get the
permission from the city to manu
facture gas from coal, they can re
sell this oil, which has increased in
price tremendously in the past year.
When Insull told the aldermen the
litigation was progressing in a man
ner satisfactory to his company, Aid.
Merriam remarked that the case
was now being heard in chancery
and the committee on gas litigation
would probably have the books of
the gas company at their disposal
through a writ of mandamus in a
few weeks.
Insull stated several times that the
company was desirous of ending the
litigation, that he didn't think it
would ever get them anywhere, and
the only people who were making
money, or would make money out of
it, were the lawyers.
PREPARE NEW LUSITANIA NOTE
Berlin, via Amsterdam', Jan. 21.
Germany's final reply in Lusitania
matter is now being prepared at the
foreign office. Exact time of its de
livery has not been determined, but
officials expressed confidence today
that it will settle all submarine dif
ferences with the United States ,

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