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Another promising step in PSEG cable project

JULIE LANE PHOTO Carson Construction employees at the Shelter Island Heights location where a tunnel from Greenport for electric cables broke through on Tuesday.
JULIE LANE PHOTO Carson Construction employees at the Shelter Island Heights work site.

PSEG subcontractor Carson Corporation completed pulling the first of three cables through pipes from Greenport to Shelter Island Heights next to North Ferry, working thorough the night of December 12.

PSEG Director of Communications Jeffrey Weir said the New Jersey-based contractor completed the operation  “safely and successfully,” adding there is still much work to be done.

Heights Property Owners Corporation General Manager Stella Lagudis said she saw the cable come through on and was optimistic about how the project has been proceeding.

Four years ago, Bortech, a Long Island Power Authority subcontractor, came within a few yards of completing this critical step, but ultimately had to abandon the project when a drill bit broke and couldn’t be removed from the pipe.

The project to provide reliable electrical service to the Island got underway in mid-October. It’s slated to be completed by mid-May, in advance of the Memorial Day weekend.

Originally, there were three lines linking Shelter Island to a substation in

Southold, but two failed, leaving a single aged line in place. Another line from the South Fork is stable, but can provide power to only part of the Island.

Since the failure to complete the project in 2013, the Island has had generators in place during peak summer months in the event of a power failure, but that was never a long-term solution.

PSEG had suggested placing a substation on the Island, but after town officials and residents visited a similar structure in Southold, they rejected the plan because of noise, dirt and general aesthetics. The Town Board made a substation moot when it voted unanimously against siting any power plant on the Island.

The next step was a PSEG negotiation with Greenport Village that provides the village with a $30,000 easement fee and $1.3 million access fee allowing the cable to run to the Fifth Street Beach area before it connects with the Southold substation.

The village also is getting an overhead circuit reinforcement from the Southold substation to provide a more rapid return to service in the event its own electric company experiences a power failure.

PSEG has promised to repave Fifth Street in the village, which will be dug up to accommodate lines that are being buried.