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Greenport moves ahead on key power project with PSEG

Greenport Mayor George Hubbard is seen in a

Greenport Mayor George Hubbard is seen in a file photo. Credit: Randee Daddona

Long-delayed work on a $30 million undersea-cable project to bring critically needed power to Shelter Island from Greenport Village could start in September, after members of Greenport’s board expressed support for an enhanced incentive package from PSEG Long Island, said Greenport Mayor George Hubbard.

The board will meet Nov. 28 to vote to authorize the village attorney to work on the final details of a contract with PSEG.

Greenport officials Thursday expressed support for the enhanced PSEG plan after the utility added $300,000 to a $1 million package of incentives, Hubbard said on Friday.

The village also will not challenge a recent state Department of Environmental Conservation decision giving LIPA lead agency status for the project, a designation Greenport had previously sought when residents opposed the project. PSEG operates the electric grid under a longterm contract with LIPA.

At a village work session Thursday, five village board members supported the increased package, which includes a new power line in Greenport and automated switching gear to help Greenport restore outages sooner, Hubbard said.

Work on the project, which had been scheduled to begin this fall, is now tentatively scheduled for September 2017, with plans for it to be completed by May 2018.

PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir said the utility’s latest offer “provides significant benefits to the residents of Greenport” while allowing PSEG to provide “safe, reliable and resilient energy to all its customers. We are eager to hear the results of the vote so that we can complete this project in a timely manner, with limited disruption to the local communities.”

The $30 million project has been fraught with problems since LIPA and its former contractor, National Grid, failed to complete it at a previous location in Southold after drilling equipment malfunctioned during tunneling under the Peconic Bay. The cable is needed to address a power shortage on Shelter Island, whose residents and officials have refused to allow the utility to build a new substation on the island for fear of “industrialization.”

“The board feels comfortable now to try to move the project to the next step,” Hubbard said, adding, “I’m happy with it. I think it’s a big plus for the village. With the extra cash we’ll be able to do a lot of stuff around the village.”

Among those plans: a 5 percent or greater reduction in village taxes, new benches and barbecues at a park on Fifth Street, new playground equipment and repairs to the village firehouse.

PSEG offered the increased incentives in a letter of intent last week, Hubbard said. The village’s contract will address issues of concerns to residents, including guarantees that full access to homes won’t be blocked, that any damage will be repaired and that work will end at dusk, Hubbard said.

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