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1 failed power cable restored, another may be by mid-October, power authorities say

LIPA's Newbridge Road substation in Levittown, July 8,

LIPA's Newbridge Road substation in Levittown, July 8, 2013 Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

One of three major power lines to Long Island that experienced an outage during the peak summer season was restored to service Monday, LIPA said.

The so-called Y50 line, which provides 656 megawatts of capacity between the Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison systems, experienced a fault earlier this year. But the problem has been repaired and the cable is back in service, LIPA said. The cable, jointly owned by LIPA and Con Ed, is 43 years old.

A separate cable to Long Island from Westchester called Y-49 that failed in August is still out of service, but is expected to be back online by mid-October, according to the New York Power Authority, which owns the 30-year-old cable. The cable, which has a capacity of 637 megawatts, has experienced four failures in the past year.

NYPA spokesman Paul DeMichele said the state power authority has identified the area of the cable that caused the problem and is "currently making repairs."

NYPA plans to begin a longer-term project to replace parts of the land-based cable in Nassau County in fall 2022, with a targeted completion date in 2023, DeMichele said.

The Neptune cable, which provides some 660 megawatts of capacity between Long Island and New Jersey, is operating at half capacity because of problems with a land-based transformer, not the cable itself. It's the second time a transformer has failed for the cable. LIPA is waiting for a new transformer, but it's not expected to arrive until early 2022, LIPA has said.

In response to the cable outages, LIPA this summer stalled retirement of two small peak-power plants in West Babylon and Glenwood Landing to help address power needs during the summer. It has also signed a contract with NYPA for a plant in Holtsville that NYPA had planned to mothball.

LIPA will pay $67 million in repair costs to have access to the plant's capacity for a 62-month term. The moves come as LIPA and other state utilities are gearing up for an influx of wind and solar power as they prepare to phase out fossil-fuel-based plants.

Earlier this year, LIPA said the Cross Sound Cable, which had been out of service since July 2020, was restored to service in January. Five cables to Long Island, including another that runs under Long Island Sound, supply a combined 40% of the Island's power.

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