Environment: A Lemon Named Big Allis

Almost exactly a year ago, the Consolidated Edison supergenerator known as "Big Allis" short-circuited, melting her metal insides and reducing Con Ed's electric power supply to New York City by 14%. "Brownouts" followed —reductions of power that dimmed lights and left New Yorkers chagrined. Con Ed engineers toiled on the generator, built by Allis-Chalmers, round the clock. After six months and 80,000 man-hours of work, Big Allis was "on line." But not for long. Within 87 minutes she conked out for four more months.

Tripping Out. Last week, after only 35 days of operation, Big Allis in the jargon of power engineers...

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