Ottawa was able to out-compete its rivals by developing most of its heavy industries adjacent to their sources of power, and by using hydro rather than steam-driven dynamos to generate electricity. Before the advent of transmission lines, even the mighty Niagara could not match the capability of the Chaudière. The residents of the National Capital Region enjoyed the pollution-free benefits of the cheapest electricity rates in the country. As such, it is said that Ottawa became the first city in North America to contract for the electrical lighting of allof its streets, in 1885. The rushing waters of the Falls powered the continuing industrial dynamo of the Chaudière in the late 19th century. They are now ushering in the new age of the green power in the early 21st century.
When, in 1908, the river ran very low and Ottawa utilities were forced to use coal-fired steam, it prompted the construction of the Ring Dam in 1910 above the Falls, to avoid future power outages.