The Island is getting backup for its backup.
Supervisor Jim Dougherty announced at Tuesday’s Town Board work session that for the duration of the LIPA power pipeline project, the Island will have power available if electricity fails.
Mr. Dougherty said LIPA officials had assured him that six portable generators would be online providing sufficient power to serve the entire Island for the duration of the project if needed.
Mr. Dougherty noted the generators, which will be located at the rear of the Highway Department barn, were a precaution, a “belt and suspenders” move. LIPA will begin installing the generators in a day or two, the supervisor said.
With summer in full bloom bringing increase power usage, and the Fourth of July right around the corner, the supervisor said LIPA’s idea to ensure a back up source of power was welcome news.
The construction of a tunnel for a pipe holding power cables running from the beach under the bottom of the bay to Southold was originally estimated to be completed by Memorial Day, then July 4, but the $9 million project could be running up against August.
Currently there’s only one workable line bringing power to the Island from the North Fork and the new pipeline will provide another. There had been two power cables coming from the north, but Hurricane Sandy knocked one out last autumn. The other power line is old and not completely reliable.
Mr. Dougherty said that LIPA can “flip the switch” on the portable generators and “we’ll get all the electricity we need.”
Councilman Ed Brown asked if the switch would be flipped here or from a remote location and Mr. Dougherty said it would be done on the Island.
The generators will probably take about two hours to get up to speed after power is cut off.