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Jan 17, 2017 5:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

PSEG Crews Begin Bolstering Power Grid In Southampton Town

One of the circuits on the East End that is being upgraded by PSEG using federal money goes across the Quogue Canal in Quogue. BY GREG WEHNER
Jan 17, 2017 5:52 PM

PSEG Long Island crews began reinforcing the power grid in Quogue Village and East Quogue last week, and are expected to begin similar work shortly in the Village of North Haven, Bridgehampton, Noyac and unincorporated sections of Sag Harbor—all part of federally funded multimillion-dollar upgrades that are intended to limit the number of people affected by power outages resulting from significant storms.

Contractors hired by the utility have already started completing upgrades along an estimated 4-mile route in Quogue that begins on Dune Road, crosses onto the mainland and terminates near the Long Island Rail Road tracks, work that will require the installation of new poles and other enhancements, such as the replacement of wires and switching equipment. On Friday afternoon, every pole along Old Depot Road, from Quogue Street to the railroad tracks, had been replaced with a new version, as had many along Quogue Street.

It was not immediately clear when the upgrades would commence on the lines supplying power to the North Haven area, though PSEG officials stated that the transmission routes in both villages are the first of 15 electrical supply routes throughout Southampton Town scheduled to receive an overhaul over the next two years. They also said the work focusing on Quogue and North Haven is expected to take about eight months to complete.

The project, part of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program, “was established to harden electrical distribution infrastructure against future storm damage and help restore power more quickly,” according to representatives at PSEG.

Calls and emails to FEMA officials regarding the work were not immediately returned this week.

As part of the upgrades contractors will be installing new and more durable wooden utility poles that feature stronger bases, though the replacements will be the same height as the current poles—ranging from 34 to 39 feet, authorities said. The new poles will be placed approximately 2 to 3 feet from existing poles; for the time being, the older versions will be left in place until PSEG is able to coordinate their removal with other municipalities and utility companies that also use them.

The project is being funded with more than $729 million in federal money secured in a 2014 agreement reached between Governor Andrew Cuomo and FEMA, authorities said. PSEG representatives could not specify how much of that money was being spent to bolster the South Fork’s power grid.

“PSEG Long Island is currently working on FEMA projects across the service territory and adding the Towns of Shelter Island and Southampton allows us to create a more reliable and resilient energy grid for even more of our customers,” said John O’Connell, PSEG Long Island vice president of transmission and distribution operations, in a prepared statement.

The long-term plan, which will be financed by FEMA, calls for replacing a grand total of 15 power transmission lines in Southampton Town alone over the next two years. PSEG officials this week declined to specify the location of the 13 additional transmission lines, explaining that they are still mapping them out. They said they will announce their plans once they are finalized.

The first route to receive upgrades begins near Waters Edge Drive on Dune Road in Quogue and continues to the railroad tracks, located north of Montauk Highway. The power lines run along Beach Lane, Quogue Street and Old Depot Road. An additional stretch of circuitry along Montauk Highway, from Jessup Avenue to Lewis Road in East Quogue, will also receive upgrades. Switching equipment along Montauk Highway, east of Jessup Avenue, and on Beach Lane, north of Dune Road, will also be replaced as part of the upgrades.

That work started in the first week of January and is expected to wrap up sometime in June, officials said.

Work on the North Haven supply line, meanwhile, has not started yet but is expected to start this month as well. The estimated 7-mile route begins on Stony Hill Road, between Noyac and Brick Kiln roads, and winds its way through a series of twists and turns up to the Ferry Dock. The transmission line continues onto Shelter Island and ends where South Ferry Road meets Smith Street. The work in Noyac also includes replacing wiring and poles, as well switching equipment, on Noyac-Long Beach Road, just south of Harbor Drive, and on Ferry Road, south of Fahys Road.

On Tuesday, North Haven Village Mayor Jeffrey Sander said he has “great concerns” about the project, adding that he has contacted PSEG to request that it suspends some of the work planned along Long Beach Road. “Residents have concerns about the visual impact of the wires and poles, particularly along Long Beach Road,” he said.

But that is not his only concern. Rather than replace lines that are already suspect to future storms, the mayor said PSEG should investigate the possibility of using the federal funding to bury the lines along that stretch—even though he is aware of restrictions stating that the money can be spent only on aboveground upgrades.

“The more of these lines we can bury, the better I’d feel,” added Mr. Sander, noting that he plans to meet with PSEG officials soon to discuss his concerns.

The scheduled upgrades, which will be completed between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday—with limited evening and Sunday work—could result in minor traffic delays, officials said.

Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius said on Friday that he has observed crews starting the upgrades, though he has not seen much in terms of residual traffic. He said they have replaced several poles along Old Depot Road and trimmed some trees—work that PSEG says must be done to ensure that the power lines are clear of limbs.

In a prepared statement, the utility said crews will trim trees when necessary, although they have been instructed to follow practices developed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Though his village does not experience power outages often, Mr. Sartorius noted that there were issues following major storms, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“If there’s more reliable power, obviously the residents are going to benefit,” he said.

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Replace one pole with another, what a waste of money. Have to start burying these lines.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Jan 18, 17 4:42 PM
"As part of the upgrades contractors will be installing new and more durable wooden utility poles that feature stronger bases, though the replacements will be the same height as the current poles" - Drive down Old Depot Road or along Montauk highway all the poles are 5-10 feet taller than the existing, so unless they are going to be cutting them down they are definitely not the same height.
By weaver (18), southampton on Jan 27, 17 9:51 AM