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State to review power cable plan

David M. Daly, president and chief operating officer

David M. Daly, president and chief operating officer for PSEG Long Island, speaks to concerned residents in Port Washington on March 25, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The state Department of Public Service will review PSEG Long Island’s plan to install more than 200 large poles with high-voltage power cables from Great Neck to Port Washington, according to a letter sent to North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth.

Town residents have largely opposed the plan, but the utility has said it is vital for increasing reliability and reducing the risk of potential blackouts.

PSEG spokesman Jeff Weir said the utility is halfway done with the project, having installed 200 of 220 poles and 10 percent of the cable.

The department has started an “independent review to determine the reliability need associated with the ongoing project,” Audrey Zibelman, chief executive for the department, said in a letter dated April 15 that was provided by the town.
Zibelman said the review is scheduled to be completed by April 30, and the results “will help determine if there is any merit to stop the project.”

She wrote that the department will review incremental costs associated with burying the overhead transmission in the community, and that the study is expected to be finished by mid-May.

The department wrote in the letter that it is reviewing the “public outreach process used to inform the community about this project.”

Bosworth said in an emailed statement that she was “hopeful that, going forward, DPS will direct PSEG-LI to conduct itself with the openness and transparency that we expect from a public utility. I look forward to DPS’ findings, as I know our community does as well.”

Zibelman wrote PSEG should “put together a more comprehensive look at its reliability plans and share this ‘blueprint’ with local communities.”

The department wrote a similar letter to officials in East Hampton Town regarding a plan to install a 6-mile overhead transmission line atop tall poles through the town and village.

Weir has told Newsday the comments are “welcome” and “we believe that they’re asking the right questions. That said, we stand ready to underground the transmission lines in both Towns, provided those Towns fund it at their own expense without any increased cost to the rest of Long Island’s ratepayers.”

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