Oswego County hydroelectric facility gets $4 million in repairs

OSWEGO, N.Y. — The water is flowing in Oswego County and so is the money. The equipment at the hydroelectric facility on West First Street that is responsible for providing power and revenue to the city of Oswego, is now under construction.

“What would have been a shallow river at one point,

 now is deep in fish habitats and recreational spaces.”

Jeffery Hinderliter

The facility, which is also known as the High Dam, was built in 1920 then taken over by the city of Oswego in 1990. Its historic age means it’s in need of some repairs.

City Engineer Jeffrey Hinderliter, who is overseeing the project, says that the city will be dedicating around $4 million to these repairs, which will include fixing three of the four generators in the facility that are broken, with two of them not working since November.

Last fall, the city of Oswego contracted with Northbrook Power Management to operate the facility. City officials said once it is operational again, the facility could generate enough power to cover all of Oswego’s electricity needs.

“The goal is to get that revenue stream stable again. As the units have had their issues, it’s been hard. Last year we turned about half of what we did in previous years,” Hinderliter said. “As we have only had two units that have been able to function.”

The hydroelectric facility and the dam that feeds it do more for the community than just produce energy. They raise the water levels.

“What we actually see is that the environment has adapted to it. What would have been a shallow river at one point, now is deep in fish habitats and recreational spaces,” Hinderliter said.

The construction on the hydroelectric facility is already underway and is projected to finish by the end of June 2023.