The controversial power line installation project between Great Neck and Port Washington has been endorsed by the state’s Department of Public Service.
“The projects are necessary to ensure reliability of the electric system in each of those areas,” a DPS staff report obtained by Patch stated. Because of the increased demand in summer, the project “should be completed prior to the summer of 2014,” according to the report.
"The new poles are designed to withstand a Category III hurricane which increases system reliability," the report stated.
“We appreciate the Department’s quick response in their review," said Jeff Weir, a spokesman for PSEG-LI.
"Completing these transmission projects will ensure that our customers have the reliable electric service that they deserve this summer," he added. "We take very seriously the Department’s recommendations on our public outreach process and will continue to engage the community on these major projects.”
Still, the endorsement "is not a stamp of approval" DPS spokesman James Denn told Newsday.
"A finding of reliability need does not mean that the utility used best practices to develop the solution," he pointed out, adding that DPS is still reviewing “the process, public outreach and other aspects and is keenly aware of the concerns of the community."
A number of local leaders asked the state to intervene in the project, including Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck), North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth as well as Keep the North Shore Beautiful and Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington.
Bosworth commended DPS for getting involved.
“We appreciate the fact that the Department of Public Service became involved in this matter at our request,” she said.
It is likely the debate will continue.
“While we understand that it is their assessment that the PSEG-LI Reliability Project is necessary in order to provide dependable electric service to the affected communities, we still have several questions and concerns,” Bosworth said.
“I look forward to the Department of Public Service’s future communication addressing, among other issues, PSEG-LI’s lack of public outreach on this project, the potential health risks associated with the chemically-treated poles, and the cost of possibly undergrounding the wires.”
The same DPS report also endorsed a contested cable project in East Hampton.