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Freeport completes $7 million in electric cable resiliency upgrades

By burying power lines, the village utility aims to prevent ratepayers from losing electricity as they did after superstorm Sandy.

Freeport Village Mayor Robert Kennedy announces the completion

Freeport Village Mayor Robert Kennedy announces the completion of the Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements Project on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Village of Freeport has put the finishing touches on a $7 million electric power line upgrade that will help protect ratepayers of its municipal utility against future outages like those caused by superstorm Sandy.

The new power lines were buried 50 feet under Freeport Creek, encompassing some 1,200 feet across. There are three new concrete vaults to secure some 25,000 additional feet of cable, Mayor Robert Kennedy said. Previously, the cables were on the seabed.

The work was done primarily by outside contractors working with the Freeport Electric utility's own crews, some 30 workers in all, during the past five months. “It was a pretty big job,” Kennedy said.

Al Livingston Jr., superintendent of the Freeport Electric, said the utility's workers "got this job done under budget and on time." 

Some 4,000 Freeport ratepayers, of its 12,000 customers, were impacted by outages during Sandy, which struck Oct. 29, 2012. Since then the utility has removed all substations in flood-prone areas and replaced them with new 13,000-volt overhead lines.

The Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements Project was developed through the NY Rising program with funding through a Governor's Office of Storm Recovery grant.  Around 90 percent of the project costs were paid by the state program, Kennedy said. 

Freeport Electric, the largest municipal-owned utility on Long Island, serving more than 43,000 people, has also installed a new emergency outage management system that automatically tells the utility where and when outages strike so it can restore service more quickly. The utility is working on a microgrid, with a new 3-megawatt generator outside the flood zone, to return service to critical functions like police, fire, emergency medical service, banks and gas stations after an outage. The project, also funded by the state with "minimal" cost to the village, is expected to be ready in two to three years, Kennedy said. 

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