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PSEG wants high-volt power line between Uniondale, Lynbrook

PSEG wants to build a 138,000-volt, 7.3-mile-long cable to run underground between Uniondale and Lynbrook.

A PSEG Long Island crew is seen at

A PSEG Long Island crew is seen at work on July 10, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

PSEG Long Island has filed a state application for work on a new high-voltage power line to run 7.3 miles underground between Uniondale and Lynbrook to reduce outages in a region fed by two antiquated cables.

The $176 million project, expected to start in mid- to late 2019, is aimed at improving power reliability in the region and grid resiliency, including for pending wind-energy projects, according to the voluminous filing with the state Department of Public Service. But it will create traffic disruptions across parts of Hempstead Town.

PSEG Long Island, which filed the application on Tuesday, had previously explored bids to delay or displace the project with renewable energy and demand reduction techniques, but found them unfeasible and too expensive.

The new 138,000-volt cable project will take around 18 months to complete, PSEG said in the filings, and require from 100 to 300 workers.

PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir said the company expects to have Public Service Commission approval for the project by year’s end. “Absent any unforeseen delays, construction on the line would begin in Q3 or Q4 of 2019 and it is expected in service by December 2020,” he said.

Residents in the areas can expect traffic disruptions from the work, which involves trenching to place the three copper cables in plastic sheathing underground over a 7.3-mile span, starting at Stewart Avenue and ending a few blocks from Merrick Road in Lynbrook. The line will cross two railroad crossings.

The project will be located entirely in Hempstead Town, traversing the Villages of Garden City, Malverne and Lynbrook, PSEG said, primarily on public roadways.

PSEG on a newly created website about the project, www.westernnassautransmission.com, didn’t rule out that it may need to acquire property to complete the route, and noted that LIPA as a public authority has the right to do so through eminent domain. However, PSEG said it expects property needs for the project to be “quite narrow.” Most of it will be located on roads and public rights of way, PSEG said.

The filing states that PSEG and LIPA will comply with the “substantive provisions of virtually all local ordinances evaluated” for the project, but asked the state for exemptions for ordinances that are “unreasonably restrictive.” These include exemptions for noise, vehicle size and construction, according to the filing, in which LIPA notes that it is not subject “to the jurisdiction of any county or local municipality.”

The project also requires upgrades to the two substations that will accept the new line, one at Uniondale and the other at Lynbrook (LIPA calls these the East Garden City and Valley Stream substations, respectively).

The project is aimed at addressing the potential of a failure of two existing 50-year-old cables, including one between the E.F. Barrett power plant in Island Park and Valley Stream.

The project will also help LIPA meet contractual obligations to supply power to Con Edison, and “address infrastructure needs to accommodate additional renewable penetration consistent with the PSEG Long Island Integrated Resource Plan and offshore wind energy goals set” by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the filing states.

PSEG said it considered running the lines on overhead transmission poles but found the route was already at or near capacity. It also conducted a bid request for energy efficiency and renewable projects, but found the seven projects offered were “not functional substitutes for the project.”

Nassau residents can find documents about the project at public libraries in Garden City, Hempstead, Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Lakeview, West Hempstead and Malverne, among others. Local officials have already been contacted, the filing states, and each landowner on which “any portion” of the project will be located has already been served with notice in first-class mail on Jan. 8.

Those who want information about the project can call a hotline, 516-780-0665, or visit westernnassautransmission.com.

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