What two years ago was a $9 million failed construction effort to provide new electric cables between the North Fork and Shelter Island could now be a $30 million project.
PSEG Director of Communications Jeffrey Weir said there are still many variables to be decided before a firm figure can be attached to the project, but the new plan could cost 200 percent more than the failed attempt.
The 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.
Meanwhile, PSEG has taken over and is prepared to dig a new tunnel to house electrical cables. There were originally three cables running between Greenport and Shelter Island, but only one remains. After the Bortech failure, an idea floated to build an electrical substation on the Island was rejected by a resolution passed by the Shelter Island Town board.
The idea of reviving the original project ran into immediate resistance from Southold Town since some Greenport residents, who had just recovered from Superstorm Sandy, spent a summer of disruption from the Bortech project.
HPOC General Manager Stella Lagudis said PSEG representatives have approached her and she’s keeping an open mind to all proposals. “But to say we’re in negotiations is a gross exaggeration,” Ms. Lagudis said.
Greenport Village Mayor George Hubbard said PSEG has asked to conduct soil tests off Fifth Street, about 100 feet offshore. The village has asked the utility company for some agreements, including restoration of any roads that might be opened for electrical lines, Mr. Hubbard said.
Because he hasn’t heard back from the PSEG, he didn’t want to discuss the details of what the Village has requested. But he said none of the village’s requests were likely to contribute in a major way to the cost of the overall project.
If the Shelter Island Heights—Greenport Village plan is approved, work would likely start next October and be completed before winter weather set in, Mr. Hubbard said.
Photo caption: LIPA contractors running pipe at Crescent Beach into a tunnel under the bay bottom in August 2013. The work was abandoned that October. (Credit: The Suffolk Times, file)