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Schenectady Electrical Handbook
The Hudson River Power Company

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[This information is from pp. 87-88 of the Schenectady Electrical Handbook by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. (Schenectady, NY: General Electric Press, 1904). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 621.3 A51s.]

On the northwesterly side of the Schenectady Works there may be observed several towers 67 feet high and 700 feet apart. Tracing the wires which these towers support in a northerly direction for a distance of 38 miles will lead one to Spiers Falls on the Hudson River about 10 miles from the village of Glens Falls.

At this point the Hudson River Power Company built a dam 115 feet in breadth, 22 feet thick and 1570 feet from shore to shore. The effective head on the water wheels is 80 feet and the available power varies from a minimum of 15,000 Kw. to a maximum of 25,000 or 30,000 Kw.

Ten penstocks, each 12 feet in diameter, enter the wheel house and feed the water wheels. The generators are of 2500 Kw. capacity and were furnished by the General Electric Company. They operate at 240 revolutions and furnish three-phase current at 10 cycles and 2000 volts which is stepped up by transformers to the line potential of 30,000 volts.

The Schenectady Works has contracted for 1875 Kw. at a flat rate for the entire twelve months of the year and all additional power required at a rate per kilowatt-hour, but from April to September inclusive 1875 Kw. additional is taken at a flat rate. The total amount of energy contracted for is 7500 Kw.

The energy is transmitted to Schenectady by two circuits, one of No. 0 and one of No. 000 wire, passing through switch houses at Saratoga and Alplaus, and entering the terminal house located on the canal bank in the rear of the Works' Power House. The terminal house is equipped with lightning arresters, Type H oil switches and metering apparatus and from it six conductors are carried across the street to the tower of the transformer house, where six step-down transformers reduce the pressure from 25,000 to 10,000 volts. The normal rating of this bank of transformers is 7500 Kw. and on them depends the supply of transmitted power for the Works and the Schenectady Railway Company.

From these transformers two underground cables conduct the energy to a switchboard in the old Power House, Building No. 13, for distribution.

In addition to the Power Plant at Spiers Falls the Hudson River Power Company now owns the power plant at Mechanicville, which was completed in 1898. The effective head at this plant is 16 feet. The power house contains seven 750 Kw., 12,000 volt, three-phase, 40 cycle generators, running at 114 revolutions. To provide for contingencies of low water or accident, two 500 H.P. water tube boilers and one 1000 H.P. tandem engine have been installed. The engine can be connected by rope drive to the nearest generator. Three circuits, each of No. 000 wires, leave the Mechanicvillc plant; two of them go to Watervliet and one to the Alplaus switch house so that energy can be fed in either direction from the latter circuit. One circuit of No. 0 wire runs from Watervliet to Lathams Corners where a sub-station of the Schenectady Railway is located.

Switch houses and sub-stations through which the trunk lines pass are equipped with lever switches so connected that any incoming line can be transferred to any outgoing line in case of trouble or repairs.

The following companies receive power from the generating plant at Spiers Falls:

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