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Jun 3, 2009 3:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

LIPA seeking permission to install second power line on South Fork

Jun 3, 2009 3:07 PM

In an effort to bolster its supply to the South Fork, the Long Island Power Authority is seeking permission from the New York State Public Service Commission to install a second underground power line alongside one running from Riverhead to Hampton Bays, doubling current voltage supplies on the South Fork.

If the project is approved, LIPA crews will install a second 138-kilovolt line—equal in voltage to the line already in place—through an existing conduit that runs between LIPA’s Riverhead substation, located just south of the Peconic River, to the Canal substation located near Sunrise Highway, just east of the Shinnecock Canal.

Before the proposal can be finalized, the power company needs the approval of the State Public Service Commission. After a public hearing before a judge—which is scheduled for this Tuesday, June 9, at the Hampton Bays Public Library on Ponquogue Avenue—the judge will make a recommendation to the commission, according to Anne Dalton, a spokesperson for that panel.

The public hearings will run from 1 to 2 p.m., and again from 5 to 6 p.m. Those who wish to comment but cannot attend either hearing can do so by visiting askpfc.com or calling 1-800-335-2120.

Ms. Dalton explained that after Tuesday’s hearings, the judge will make a recommendation to the state commissioners; after that, it will be up to them whether or not to accept the recommendation on the application. There is no set timeline for the decision-making process.

Ed Dumas, LIPA’s vice president of communications, explained that the second 138-kilovolt line, which will be buried underground and run along Sunrise Highway, is needed because the power company has to increase its transmission capability to accommodate the growing population on the South Fork.

He said that LIPA officials have already budgeted money for the project, though they do not yet know what the final cost will be. Mr. Dumas added that no additional taxes or rate increases will have to be levied to cover the cost of the upgrading.

“What we need to do on an everyday, routine basis is to assess how to buttress and enhance our infrastructure, so we can best provide energy to areas that are experiencing growth,” Mr. Dumas said.

He explained that while the population in other parts of LIPA’s territory typically grows at a rate of 1.7 percent a year, the East End has grown by 5.2 percent each year from 2000 to 2006. He added that the second supply line will help meet the needs of the expanding population.

Mr. Dumas could not say exactly how many homes and businesses the added line would serve. Still, if the second line is not installed, Mr. Dumas warned that brownouts could be experienced throughout the area in the next few years.

If approved, the new line will be installed through an existing conduit that workers will be able to access through manholes. LIPA officials added the extra conduit in 2000, when crews installed the first 138-kilovolt line, in anticipation of future demand.

“It’s a project that is designed to allow us to continue to reliably serve the electric load on the South Fork and East End,” Mr. Dumas said.

If the project is approved by the state, LIPA expects installation to begin in January 2011 and for the work to be finished by that May. The construction crews should be finished before Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer in the Hamptons, Mr. Dumas said.

He added that the new transmission line will also be used to increase the flow of electricity to the North Fork by way of a power line that connects East Hampton with Southold.

Mr. Dumas stressed that the project will have no adverse environmental impacts and will require minimal construction work. “It’s all underground,” he said. “We’re just pulling another wire through.”

Two years ago, some residents of Bridgehampton and Water Mill vehemently opposed the installation of a 8.5-mile power line, about 55 percent of which the utility had proposed installing underground, between Southampton Village and Bridgehampton. Residents took issue because the proposed utility poles would have been nearly twice the height and width of preexisting poles.

After months of heated debate, LIPA and Southampton Town reached an agreement in which the power company would bury all of the new line if a portion of that cost were picked up by ratepayers on the east side of the Shinnecock Canal. The LIPA Board of Trustees voted in October 2008 to enact a surcharge on the electric bills of some Southampton Town residents to cover that additional cost.

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LIPA LOST INTEREST PAYING ALWAYS.WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP.NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO TO CONSERVE THEY STICK IT TO YOU ANY WAY THEY CAN A WILL.AND THE WAY PEOPLE ARE FLOCKING OUT OF HERE BECAUSE YOUR LIGHT BILL IS HIGHER THAN YOUR VIPER PAYMENT.NO COST INCREASE YEA RIGHT I USED SOLAR POWER TO TYPE THIS CAUSE LIPA ***KS
By pinga (90), hamptonbays on Jun 3, 09 7:49 PM
Sounds like they are gearing up to supply a casino....
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Jun 4, 09 9:21 AM
WE NEED NUCLEAR POWER IN THE NORTHEAST...GET REAL PEOPLE...RUN AND BURY ALL THE LINES YOU LIKE, BUT THE POWER HAS TO BE GENERATED SOMEWHERE...WINDMILLS ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT....TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT CALIFORNIA. WAKE-UP YOU ARE BEING LEAD DOWN A DEAD END ROAD!!!!
By BeachGal (72), Hampton Bays on Jun 6, 09 6:29 PM