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Greenport backs cable project to Heights

The Greenport Village Board. (Credit: Paul Squire)

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO The Greenport Village Board.

PSEG’S controversial plan to run a cable line under Greenport’s Fifth Street and across the bay to Shelter Island Heights will move forward with the Village Board’s blessing.

At a November 17 meeting, Mayor George Hubbard Jr. announced that the board had agreed to greenlight the project after the energy company sweetened the deal it had offered the village. The power company promised to increase the amount of cash gifted to the village and install a backup power cable and automatic “switch gear” at no charge that will cut down on future Greenport power outages.

“We feel this is a good deal for the village overall,” Mr. Hubbard said.

The village board’s official approval will come at its next meeting in the form of a “letter of intent,” which signals the village is willing to pen a contract with PSEG for the work. The village and PSEG agreed the work will begin September 15, 2017 and wrap up by May 15, 2018, according to Mr. Hubbard.

In a press release, Supervisor Jim Dougherty thanked the mayor and the board “for helping to ensure Shelter Island residents will have reliable and secure sources of power in the future.” Since the project won’t begin until late next year, the supervisor said PSEG will once again place temporary generators on the Island in May at the site of the old highway department barn “to meet our increased power needs during the 2017 high season.”

PSEG had previously offered $1 million in cash to Greenport, but according to details of the latest deal released by the village, PSEG has increased the offer to $1.308 million.

“They sweetened the pot,” Mr. Hubbard said, noting that some residents called for $10 million in compensation, which was “never going to happen.” The village has not yet determined where the money might be spent.

In addition to the cash payments, PSEG has offered to pay for the backup cable and switch, which would allow the village to restore power quickly during outages, board members said. PSEG will also repave the roadway after construction is complete

An original cable project to ensure the Island has reliable backup electrical power was undertaken in 2013 by Bortech, a subcontractor of the Long Island Power Authority. After missing multiple deadlines and equipment failures, the project was scrapped by LIPA. Since then, PSEG has taken over.

There were originally three cables running between Shelter Island and Greenport, but only one remains. After the Bortech failure, an idea was heatedly debated before the Town board to build an electrical substation on the Island, but it was eventually rejected by a resolution passed by board.