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PSEG: New Transmission Poles Will Ensure 'Secure, Consistent, Reliable Power'

New York State Senator Ken LaValle and New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele have also added their voices to the issue.

Photo Credit: Ilissa Meyer
Photo Credit: Ilissa Meyer
Controversy continues to swirl over new utility transmission poles in East Hampton that have the community in an uproar over their proposed height.

On Tuesday, East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell called the situation a "travesty," and called upon New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo for help to put the brakes on a plan that would site 61-foot tall transmission poles in residential and historic neighborhoods.

According to Cantwell, PSEG is constructing a six-mile-long overhead transmission line built to 33 kilovolt standards, that would replace existing 29 to 38 foot utility poles with others up to 61 feet tall.

The poles, he said, are slated to go up in residential areas and in front of historic homes and across scenic farm vistas.

The project, Cantwell said, is in direct contradiction to the Town of East Hampton's comprehensive plan and the state's approved and locally designated Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance.

According to Cantwell, the Long Island Power Authority prepared an environmental assessment for the transmission line project, which runs from East Hampton to Amagansett, declared lead agency status, and filed  a negative declaration as required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act in October.

"There was no public review of these documents or public participation in the process," the supervisor said.

Cantwell decried a lack of public participation in the project and said the town would pursue legal remedies if not for a statue of limitations based on a state environmental review.

In recent weeks, residents have raised their voices in protest, asking that the lines be buried. 

PSEG media rep Jeffrey S. Weir responded to Patch and explained that the purpose of the project was to improve reliability of services.

"The new transmission line runs from East Hampton to Amagansett to enhance reliability not only for the people of East Hampton but out to Cape Hero," he said.

After a review in 2012 and 2013, it was determined that the "stronger, taller poles would be capable of supporting new, as well as existing wires, and withstanding gale for hurricane force winds up to 130 miles per hour."

Currently, Weir said, there is only one set of poles, on a single line, from East Hampton to Amagansett, with two, 23 kilovolt transmission lines on a single tower line. "In a severe storm or high winds, if that single tower line were to go down, or is something catastrophic were to happen, there would be a complete loss of electric supply," he said.

The point of the project is to add a third transmission line, called a redundant line, to ensure East Hampton residents have "secure, consistent, reliable" power.

Weir said PSEG worked with the community, town and the village all through 2013, in Town Hall meetings and with an open house.

He added that ongoing conversations with the community and the Town and Village in early March "to continue the dialogue."

By the time the project is completed, by the summer of 2014, "the upgrade will supply increased capacity and a redundant supply of electric service," Weir said.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, New York State Senator Ken LaValle and New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele lent their voices to the issue, co-signing a letter to Commissioner Diane Burman of the New York State Department of Public Service, asking to meet and discuss the situation, to help balance utility needs with concerns of residents, without having to "resort to a legislative solution."
Debra Brodie Foster February 22, 2014 at 02:26 PM
Up to 60 foot utility poles and transmission wires transmitting 3 times the kilovolts of towns in Suffolk County 20 feet away from childrens' bedrooms is NOT "meeting the future power needs of East Hampton. Slicing six miles through quarter acre lots on village streets and and marching across preserved farmland in one of New York State's most beautiful resorts is totally insensitive to the basis of our economy.After receiving 1.4 billion for burying power lines after super storm Sandy, LIPA and a New Jersey based utility are putting giant transmission lines ABOVE THE GROUND? Take your head out of the 1950's and bury these wires. Only Governor Cuomo call a halt to this travesty.
Rebecca Singer February 22, 2014 at 06:54 PM
Governor Cuomo, we need you to halt the continuing rush by PSEG to finish placing new high transmission wires overhead. Why is our utility PSEG so technologically behind the times? In this day of climate uncertainty, increased major storm activity and worries about terrorism, how shortsighted can we be to still be putting up lines above the ground? Why do we need poles that tower over our houses with high voltage transmission wires? What if those poles are knocked down in a storm onto our houses or children? What about the health and safety concerns for our children and families? As for prior notice by PSEG, most people never received any notification from PSEG about the project beforehand. The few that did were told that they were merely upgrading the lines. Going from 13 kilovolts to maintaining the 13 plus adding a 60' pole with a capacity for 33 kilovolts is not an upgrade. What happens when people drive into those poles on an icy day? This project needed thoughtful planning and input from the community to help us prepare for our future needs and the scenic beauty we all value.
Lynne Brown February 23, 2014 at 12:17 AM
PSEG continues to say this additional source of power is needed in case the primary line fails. If both lines are above ground, they will be susceptible to the same elements from a storm (ice, wind, snow). They will both fail and then PSEG will have double the workload to repair them and we will still have no power. Go under ground with this additional source of power along a major corridor such as the LIRR or Route 27. It is shorter in length than the current project and does not leave residents in harms way from falling poles and power lines. In addition, the current route that these poles are being constructed is through residential neighborhoods, historic areas and scenic vistas. The poles are 50 - 61 feet tall, much larger in diameter than in the past and should a driver need to avoid hitting a deer or skid on a patch of black ice, veering off the road is certain death if they hit these gargantuan utility poles. It is only a matter of time. These poles need to be removed immediately!
trep February 23, 2014 at 08:48 AM
STOP THE POLES! IT"S TIME TO BURY THE LINES!! Email Gov Cuomo and tell him to BURY THE LINES IN EH!! This is the only responsible way in 2014!
Michael Forst February 23, 2014 at 08:59 AM
I am glad to see our Town officials have taken a stand behind the people of this town who have been wronged. Thank you for standing with us. This town spent a lot of time and money to formulate and approve a comprehensive plan. It needs to be followed. No poles. Bury the lines. Protect our scenic vistas our OUR health. It is clear that ALL the people were not notified of this project properly. Governor. PLEASE step in and help us stop this project which should have never started to begin with. It is my opinion that the SEQRA process never began due to lack of notification to All the residents of EH along the 6 mile route. It did not happen. MOST NEVER GOT NOTICE. This is our home and we want a say in what happens here.
Pat Mansir February 23, 2014 at 11:51 AM
Residents were not told that we were getting high voltage poles during all of 2013. In fact only 60 notices were sent out. Those notices only said we were getting sturdier poles. Just before hurricane Sandy, Gov Cuomo said that LIPA could not handle the storm so he was sending his people out. Sure he did . Then he took over LIPA. The higher the voltage the smaller the line and snow and ice do not stick to these. Now we have 30 kilovolts running by our bedrooms. There is much study that tells us of the many cancers that the RFRs from such an electric field like this cause. Fire Depts cannot do anything when a wire like this comes down, just wait for PSEG to turn it off. Meanwhile it thrusts itself in all directions. I believe that this is actually going to Camp Hero - WHY? When there was an Air Force installation there they made their own electricity. Now Camp Hero is a State Park. Is gambling coming?? Everyone needs to pay attention and get on board, this is far reaching. This does not effect only 6 miles of homes.
Sarah Brooks Minardi February 23, 2014 at 11:57 AM
Yes, it's very upsetting that LIPA & PSEG came through to our local officials with their Yes Men and did not provide more wide-spread notice about their plans. The path of the East Hampton to Amagansett Transmission Line is criminal. It needs to either go down the major corridors (Montauk Hwy or the LIRR route) or, if to be 'gerrymandered' down the village and town streets, it need to be underground, buried, out of sight. I am more aware of the power lines these days than I have ever been before, and it's scary. How is it that we have the hardest time finding a plastic bag for our groceries and yet our well preserved village is being inundated by these massive, potentially harmful poles and high voltage wires? We can fight this - it's not too late. Please reach out to Governor Cuomo and Sign our Petition - it's all easily accessible on the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SaveEH
IJ MEYER February 23, 2014 at 02:24 PM
I live on a street where the lines are buried and have never lost power due to a storm. If our elected officials really cared about problems with storms in East Hampton, there would have mandated that the lines were buried. PSE&G should be ashamed of themselves. They have destroyed our wonderful town with 60+/- foot poles that can fall on six miles of houses and roads, not to mention placing them within a few feet of very busy intersections, where if someone is to crash into them, will be killed. Please help save our town! Click the link below to sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-pse-g-from-overhead-trasmission-line
Virginia Hessler February 23, 2014 at 06:45 PM
Do you know m. dickerson? Is it possible that you are covering the same story? Please do check out King St EH, These toxic poles reach 20' higher than an NFL approved goal post. They are placed every 30', meanwhile our streets are 18feet wide. A hurricane could have winds 140+mph, what then? Should we bury them then? Could you ask Mr Weir why he chose not to notify anyone along the route as to what was going on? Like 32 kv high tension wires in our front yards. PSEG should bury the wires. Please help us to keep our beautiful natural resource-our natural surroundings, for the health and safety of our community.

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