It was standing room only at a Monday night meeting with PSEGLI at Harbor Links Clubhouse in Port Washington. There, hundreds of residents implored officials to stop a $15 million powerline installation project that runs between Port Washington and Great Neck.
The project had taken the community by surprise when community members spotted the first 80-feet poles being installed in February.
Now, upset about "hacked trees" and safety concerns, they want the project stopped, and the permit pulled. Calls to that effect drew rounds of applause in the room.
“It’s a ‘pole uglification project,’” one resident told Dave Daly, PSEGLI's president and chief operating officer, who took questions from the audience.
The project extends five miles above ground, with one mile underground in the Thomaston section of Great Neck, where the property grade was too steep and the road too narrow to accommodate the poles PSEGLI officials said was
Daly said the project was necessary to meet demand projected for the summer and to avoid outages. Officials also said the poles were safe even in storm winds of up to 130 miles per hour and that there were no conclusions that the poles posed any health hazards.
Asked about installing the lines underground, Daly said PSEGLI would be willing to do so as long as there was a “mechanism to fund the project,” noting that it would cost four-to-five times more than the overhead poles.
One resident said she “would still take two weeks without power” as she had done in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy than live with the poles.
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said at the beginning of the meeting that the town was looking at a feasibility plan to bury the wires under the guidance of an independent expert, and along with Councilwoman Dina DeGiorgio, seeing what kind of federal aid would be available.Meanwhile, the project is expected to be completed in May, though according to News 12, officials will consider “proposals to underground the lines after the project” is completed.
Learn more about the project here.
Editor's Note: This story was updated to reflect that the cost of the project is $15 million.