PSEG Long Island agreed Wednesday to work with East Hampton residents and officials to develop an alternate route for a controversial high-voltage cable through the village, even as work on the 6-mile project continued.
More than 100 residents gathered at East Hampton Town Hall Wednesday to express objections to the 33,000-volt line, which wends through village and town roads atop thick poles up to 65 feet high.
PSEG's top Long Island official, president and chief operating officer David Daly, said the utility would meet again with residents and officials as soon as Friday to hammer out a list of potential alternative routes for the project, including putting the entire line underground.
But he declined to halt work on the project, despite repeated requests from residents and East Hampton Village May- or Paul Rickenbach. More than 240 of the 266 poles are already in place, PSEG said.
PSEG says the project, which adds a critical third transmission line between two important substations in East Hampton and Amagansett, is vital to increasing reliability of power in the town, which some residents say has seen frequent power outages.
Putting the entire line underground could cost $25 million to $30 million, PSEG said, but some residents disputed the estimate of more than $4 million per mile. They suggested that rather than snake through neighborhoods in the village, that it be routed along a LIRR line, which would reduce its length by 2 miles.
Daly said the LIRR route had previously been examined and rejected. But he agreed to re-examine it, along with another alternative of routing the line along Montauk Highway, and burying only portions of it.
Residents and East Hampton officials acknowledged that they would assume a portion of the costs for the work, which they hoped would include removing the large poles. Daly said a better option would be to leave the new poles in place, but cut them to the 35-foot height of the previous poles, while putting the higher-voltage transmission lines underground.