“Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”
(Thomas Edison, September 1932)
Thomas Edison started out as a telegraph operator and used these skills to help develop a method of power generation and distribution to homes and other buildings. This system was patented in 1880, the same year he founded the Edison Illuminating Company.
The Edison Illuminating Company built the first central power plant in the United States - the Pearl Street Station. It started electricity generation in September 1882 with a grand total of 85 customers.
By 1887 there were 121 Edison power stations in the United States.
Interestingly, Thomas Edison started out using direct current (DC) power. Eventually, alternating current (AC) won the popularity war due to its efficiency over long distances.
Edison wasn't the first person to think of the idea of large-scale electricity systems, but he was the man who made it commercially viable. He was a big-picture thinker.
So next time I get a power bill, I plan on blaming Thomas Edison, without whom our system of electricity supply could be very different.