Utah Electric Service in 1912

Originally published in Utah: It’s People, Places and Resources, 1912

Salt Lake City is well abreast of other cities of its size in the matter of electric service in the various forms to which is now applied. These consist of street, commercial and residence lighting; motor power for the operation of smelters, mills and factories of various kinds, for electric elevator service, and for the street railway system. The service is furnished by the Co., which generates the electric energy chiefly from water power plants, located on various mountain streams emptying into the valleys of the Great Basin. 

One of its principal plants derives its power from the Ogden River in Weber County, and two others from the Big Cottonwood Creek in Salt Lake County. In addition to these it has recently completed a 5,500 h. p. water power plant on the Weber River at Devil’s Gate, and a steam generating plant on the Jordan River on the west boundary of Salt Lake City, capable of generating 11,000 horsepower. This steam plant will be used for emergency service, and contains the largest and most up-to-date steam turbine unit west of the Mississippi river. This Company also purchases the entire output of the electrical plant of the , situated on the Bear River in Box Elder County, and a considerable amount of power is purchased from the , whose generating stations are located on the Provo River in Utah County, the Logan River in Cache County, and the Bear River in Idaho. 

The Utah Light and Railway Company thus controls a generating capacity aggregating 30,000 horsepower. The cities of Ogden, Kaysville, Bountiful, Woods Cross and Sandy are supplied by the same Company. The high voltage circuits under its control direct are 158 miles in length, including a new steel tower transmission line between Salt Lake and Ogden, in place of the old wooden pole line. Its distributing lines, including Ogden, Salt Salt City, and smaller cities on its circuits, serve a population of 150,000.

The Railway System is owned and operated by the Utah Light & Railway Company also, and covers the entire city of Salt Lake, extending from the Superior Addition on the north to the cities of Sandy and Midvale on the south, with lines to Fort Douglas, Sugar Precinct, Forest Dale, and other suburbs.

Since the control of the company was acquired by the E. H. Harriman interests about five years ago, approximately $5,000,000 have been spent in reconstructing the entire system, and no expense has been spared to make Salt Lake’s street railway and electric lighting and power system second to none. The most notable improvements are the reconstruction and extension of the street car tracks, the substitution of commodious cars of modern type for the old dilapidated ones formerly used, the placing of the distribution system underground in the streets of the commercial district, the use of the modern luminous arcs for the street lighting in place of the older and less efficient type of lamp, the installation of a storage battery on the electric elevator system, and the construction of two generating plants already noted, with a substation for the Sandy and Midvale extension.

The officers of the Company have planned numerous other improvements, and have shown their abiding faith in Salt Lake City by authorizing the expenditure of the necessary money to complete many of these during the coming year (1913).

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