01/11/14 3:41pm
01/11/2014 3:41 PM

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To the editor:

I think it’s wonderful that Keyspan and National Grid decided to put in natural gas lines throughout all of Ackerly Pond Lane for “future use.” I do believe that they may become very beneficial to the homeowners who one day choose to go that route in their homes.

However, they have ripped up our entire road and left it a disaster. Some of the property throughout the length of the road has been destroyed as well. The two patch jobs just made the road worse. Not only is the road a rough ride, with asphalt kicking up all over your vehicle, but the ditch they left at the north end of the road adds a nice touch to your ABS before your vehicle finally comes to a stop in the North Road.

Anyone who drives this road knows how terrible it is and how awful it continues to get every day. They had no problem disrupting the residents to lay lines for quite awhile; the least they could do is disrupt the residents one last time and fix our road.

Tracey Carragher, Southold

10/03/13 11:21am
10/03/2013 11:21 AM

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Bortech workers in August running pipes to Crescent Beach for a power pipeline just before work was stopped. Word came yesterday that the contractor had been fired by LIPA and National Grid on the $9 million project.

Long Island Power Authority has washed its hands of Bortech.

LIPA spokesman Mark Gross released a statement yesterday evening that its contract with Bortech, the company digging a pipeline under the bay from Crescent Beach to Southold, has been voided. No new work is expected until sometime in 2014 as the power company and its corporate partner, National Grid, look for a new contractor.

“National Grid, our service provider and project manager on this project, notified our drilling contractor Bortech that they have been terminated,” the statement from Mr. Gross said.  “While work on the project will stop immediately, we are currently negotiating an amount of time for them to properly demobilize from the work site (both Shelter Island and Southold). Any options going forward to complete this project must make complete technical and economic sense. Once National Grid presents these options to LIPA we will review them and move forward with a course of action. We would not expect any physical work on the project to start until after the new year.”

A call to Bortech for further information was not returned.

Started in April to provide a much-needed backup source of electricity for the Island, the $9 million project was originally scheduled to be completed by Memorial Day.

03/14/13 1:00pm
03/14/2013 1:00 PM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | National Grid said its finalizing plans for a Cutchogue to Southold natural gas line.

Southold Town residents and businesses have been clamoring for access to natural gas for heating, cooking and hot water since the price began to plummet two years ago but, to date, there’s been little action on the part of National Grid to meet the growing demand.

“There’s a pretty steady and broad-based demand for gas,” Supervisor Scott Russell said in an interview last week. “My understanding is the capacity to serve the town is there. The need is the infrastructure.”

That could change in the near future, said National Grid spokeswoman Wendy Ladd. The company is working on a “gas reinforcement project” that would run a second main line down Route 48 from Cutchogue to Southold, she said.

Although there is already a gas line there, she said the new line could accommodate higher pressures than the existing line, making it possible to bring natural gas to more neighborhoods.

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | A natural gas meter on the side of a local home.

“National Grid continues to invest in gas system infrastructure across Long Island including the North Fork,” Ms. Ladd added. “National Grid’s construction program is designed to support continued growth across the region.” She said the company is still finalizing plans for the Cutchogue to Southold line.

There has been some concern voiced locally that National Grid may not want to invest in gas system infrastructure since the contract to service the LIPA’s electric grid will be given to PSEG next year.

Ms. Ladd said that National Grid still owns, and plans to operate, the natural gas system after the electric contract switch.

Mattituck resident Art Tillman, who also serves as the town’s Democratic Party chairman, has recently taken a part-time job selling natural gas for a company called JJT Energy.

That company is known in the business as an “Esco,” an independent producer authorized to supply gas using National Grid’s infrastructure when the gas industry was deregulated in the 1990s.

Customers of Escos receive one bill from National Grid, which is broken down into two sections — one for the gas used and one for the cost of delivering the gas. JJT’s customers pay both companies with one bill.

“We buy gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange,” said Mr. Tillman. “Our thing is to sell gas at the lowest possible rate.”

Mr. Tillman said natural gas is a relatively easy sell, but hooking up new customers has proven infuriating. He said it’s further complicated by the fact that there is no publicly available map of gas distribution lines because of the threat they could be tampered with by vandals or terrorists.

Even fire department members, he said, have to call National Grid when responding to a scene to ask whether there are gas lines in the area.

Neighbors, of course, know anecdotally whether their neighbors have access to gas.

Barbara Meyran, who lives on Saltaire Way in Mattituck, knows there is gas available on nearby Mill Road. She’s currently circulating a petition among her neighbors to bring gas lines to their neighborhood.

“Ten people have called National Grid and nobody calls them back,” she said. “We’ve been trying for months and months.”

Mr. Tillman said many greenhouse operators are also interested in hooking up, in part because greenhouses currently using oil heat are at a huge competitive disadvantage against those with gas heat.

“Greenhouses are huge users of energy,” said Mr. Tillman. “It’s not fair for growers using oil to be competing with growers who use natural gas.”

He said it usually costs about $100 per foot to bring a gas line to a customer.

“That’s nice if a main is in front of the house, but in many cases it’s a half-mile to a main,” he said. “Therefore, it’s cost prohibitive. Just as in cable and water, gas should be available to those that want it.”

For his part, Mr. Russell said he has never received a map of the gas lines, which he requested from National Grid a year ago. He said at one point he was told the company was interested in expanding access, but had questions about how to charge new customers for the lines.

“National Grid would find a very receptive community” here, the supervisor said. “It’s a question of getting their attention.”

[email protected]

11/16/12 7:55am
11/16/2012 7:55 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Legislator Wayne Horsley, left, blasted the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid on Thursday for hiring out-of-state electricians.

Suffolk County lawmakers blasted the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid Thursday, accusing the utilities of looking for out-of-state help instead of hiring out-of-work local electricians during Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath.

At a press conference in Hauppauge, Legislator Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), along with other members of the Legislature and representatives from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 25, said they attempted to arrange for nearly 400 licensed electricians that live locally to work with LIPA, but said the power authority never returned their phone calls.

“They were ready to work,” Mr. Horsley said. “Somehow or another, there has been a decision not to use these electricians.”

Mr. Horsley said the county had discussions in 2011 with LIPA and National Grid about hiring local electricians for future storms after failing to do so during Tropical Storm Irene’s aftermath. Prior to that storm, Mr. Horsley said IBEW workers had been called upon to help out in other storms.

Mr. Horsley said it was unclear why LIPA didn’t hire local electricians this time and said he believed it was “morally wrong” not to hire “homegrown” workers.

“They know where the streets are,” Mr. Horsley said. “They know where the poles are. They know where the intersections are when a light is down…They could have been putting our system back together again and they could have been helping our citizens who are cold.”

Legislator Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) agreed and said ratepayers could have also been spared from picking up additional hotel and meal costs.

“We have guys here on Long Island that could go back to their own homes where they could eat their own meals,” she said.

Legislator John Kennedy (R-Nesconset) called on New Jersey-based Public Service Enterprise Group to commit to hire local workers during emergency situations. In December, the LIPA Board of Trustees approved a contract with PSEG to manage the operations of the electric grid on Long Island.

PSEG will replace London-based energy company National Grid in January 2014.

“We can’t afford to sort this out then,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We need to know their commitment and their willingness to engage these electricians so we’ll no longer have any of this nonsense.”

Officials from PSEG and LIPA weren’t immediately available for comment.

Read more in the Nov. 22 issue of The Suffolk Times in both our print and electronic editions.

[email protected]

12/15/11 3:53pm
12/15/2011 3:53 PM

The Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees approved on Thursday a contract with New Jersey-based Public Service Enterprise Group to manage the operations of the electric grid on Long Island.

PSEG will replace London-based energy company National Grid, which took over the contract  in 2007 after purchasing KeySpan.

Before the contracts between LIPA and PSEG become effective, approvals are needed from the Internal Revenue Service, the state Attorney General and the Office of the State Comptroller, officials said.

The current contract for utility services between LIPA and National Grid expires on December 31, 2013.

“National Grid and its predecessor have worked hard serving LIPA’s customers for the past 13 years,” said LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey in a press release. “We thank them for their commitment and look forward to working with them toward a successful transition.”

According to a LIPA press release issued this afternoon, the new 10-year contract requires PSEG to create a “wholly-owned subsidiary on Long Island dedicated to LIPA and its 1.1 million customers.” PSEG is expected to assume the operation of LIPA’s system on January 1, 2014.

Some of the reasons why LIPA has chosen PSEG as the new service provider include offering the lowest cost and best value for LIPA customers, as well as committing to cost control, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

“Partnering with PSEG for the operation of LIPA’s transmission and distribution system under an improved business model provides the best value for our customers while also providing greater transparency and tighter controls of all activities and costs,” said LIPA Board Chairman Howard Steinberg.

LIPA has set up the website, www.ourLIPAfuture.info, to provide updates about the transition with PSEG.

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