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Jul 29, 2014 3:21 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Officials Demand Meeting With PSEG To Discuss Long-Range Plan

Jul 29, 2014 4:08 PM

Local and state elected officials are demanding a meeting with PSEG in East Hampton, seeking clarity on the utility company’s long-range plan for the area, according to a series of letters addressed to the utility company and the Department of Public Service last week.

PSEG has said it has allocated $294 million for the company to use in “transmission reenforcement, conventional infrastructure, new underground transmission cables, and substation work” on the South Fork, but it is “severely lacking in detail,” according to the letter from East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr.

“This is the first iteration for the future,” said PSEG spokesperson Jeffrey Weir on Monday, speaking of the company’s long-range energy plan. “We believe the plan is comprehensive, but there’s absolutely an opportunity to go further, and we look forward to doing that.”

The letter goes on to acknowledge the town and village’s commitment to “alternative energy generation, solar and expanded energy efficiency,” some of the initiatives named in the long-range plan. The letters, however, ask for answers regarding how the projects would be carried out.

“I would like to see PSEG and [the Long Island Power Authority] follow through on the alternative energy proposals that are currently proposed, with respect to locating electric solar panels throughout the East End, to find ways to store energy, so we’re as … independent as we can be on the South Fork,” said Mr. Cantwell.

Mr. Cantwell said he received a response from Department of Public Service representative Julia Bovey and they are in the process of scheduling a time and place for a meeting in East Hampton. “I’m not sure where she is in the process of approving that,” he said, “but I have been in conversation with her, and we’re picking a tentative date.”

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. also wrote a letter to the department requesting a meeting in East Hampton, given the utility company’s most recent project—a 23/33-kilavolt transmission line from the village to Amagansett, which caused severe backlash from some members of the community, and spurred litigation.

“The public was only aware of the project after construction had already begun,” Mr. Thiele wrote in his letter to Ms. Bovey. “This controversy has piqued local interest as to what is PSEG-LI’s future long-term plan for the South Fork.”

The transmission line project in East Hampton has been at a standstill after the town issued the utility company a stop-work order at its Amagansett substation for failure to obtain a building permit and site-plan review. PSEG held a public hearing for the project in the village on September 12, 2013, before receiving a building permit, although many residents claim they were not aware of the hearing or the project.

Mr. Weir said the utility company is in the process of working with the Department of Public Service to schedule additional public hearings where community members can voice their concerns and ask questions. As of now, public hearings have been scheduled for August 19 in Smithtown and August 20 in Mineola.

Mr. Cantwell said he is hopeful a meeting will be scheduled by the end of August at the Emergency Services Building in East Hampton Village.

“I think it’s going to be an opportunity for the public to comment on the alternatives that are discussed, ask questions, get clarification of some of the recommendations of what they actually mean,” Mr. Cantwell said, “and, hopefully, get more details of what those are and what might be built, and what process they would follow before they build anything.”

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