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Dec 16, 2014 12:41 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Double Poles Removed in East Hampton Village, Town

Dec 16, 2014 3:41 PM

After nearly a year, all of the double utility poles in East Hampton Town and Village have finally been removed.

The East Hampton Village Board adopted a law in early December requiring the utility companies that house their wires on utility poles to remove the older poles within 15 days of the law being filed with the Department of State, or be subject to a fine. And they’ve apparently complied.

East Hampton Village Administrator Becky Molinaro said the law was noticed on December 5, and the last poles were removed by PSEG last week, according to PSEG spokesperson Elizabeth Flagler.

The second set of larger, thicker utility poles was installed last January as part of a project to implement a 23/33-kilovolt transmission line to “harden” the electrical system in the area and prevent power outages during storms. However, the older, smaller poles were never removed when the new poles were installed.

According to PSEG spokesperson Jeffrey Weir, the last utility company to move their wires from the old pole to the new pole is responsible for the old pole’s removal. However, PSEG, the company responsible for installing the new poles, said it had agreed to remove the poles as part of an agreement with the village, even though Verizon was the last utility to move its wires, which took place last week.

And residents, many of whom previously expressed anger about the double poles ruining their neighborhood’s aesthetic, are relieved.

“It’s great that the village finally took some action,” said Long Island Businesses For Responsible Energy Co-Chair Rebecca Singer, looking out her window on McGuirk Street.

“It took some time, but I think it’s great that the village stayed on top of them to remove the double utility poles,” echoed Helene Forst, another co-chair of LIBFRE, a non-profit working to remove the transmission line.

The group filed a lawsuit against PSEG alleging the new poles are a threat to health and safety, a detriment to residents’ property values, and “negligent infliction of emotional distress.”

PSEG filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in July, but LIBFRE countered the motion for dismissal with a counter-filing claiming that PSEG has made “false arguments.” LIBFRE’s counter-filing is currently being reviewed by a Suffolk County court.

The Village Board will continue to discuss at its next meeting, on December 19, a law that would require utility companies to hold a public hearing before installing new poles.

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