04/10/15 4:00pm
04/10/2015 4:00 PM

Southold Town Board members were puzzled to learn Tuesday that the town has spent roughly $50,000 over the past five years to participate in a renewable energy initiative program that expired in 2009.

The surcharge, which breaks down to roughly $10,000 annually, appears on the town’s electric bill to support LIPA’s Community Energy Program, which was intended to encourage the company to purchase energy from renewable sources.  (more…)

03/03/15 8:00am
03/03/2015 8:00 AM
PSEG held a public meeting Thursday at the Riverhead Free Library to discuss a rate increase plan. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The state Department of Public Service held a public meeting Monday at the Riverhead Free Library to discuss PSEG’s rate increase plan. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Long Islanders are blasting PSEG Long Island’s proposed rate increase plan and say current utility costs are already too high.

About 85 people attended an informational session Monday night at the Riverhead Free Library to discuss PSEG’s three-year rate plan, which was followed by a hearing for public comment.

The proposed rate hike to the delivery charge portion of an average residential customer’s bill is a 3.8 percent increase in 2016, or $3.25 per month, according to a PSEG press release. In 2017 and 2018, the proposed increase is 3.9 percent, or $3.30 per month.

(more…)

02/08/15 7:00am
Long Island Power Authority workers dig the intersection of Bay Shore Road and Island View Lane in Greenport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Long Island Power Authority workers dig the intersection of Bay Shore Road and Island View Lane in Greenport. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Southold Town is prepared to sue PSEG Long Island should the company revisit a failed and controversial underwater cable project intended to boost Shelter Island’s power supply.

(more…)

08/01/14 8:00am
08/01/2014 8:00 AM
Credit: Patrick W. Moore

Credit: Patrick W. Moore

For years, people have been talking about solar as a clean alternative energy source, but only recently has the prospect of large-scale solar farms started taking shape on the North Fork.

Two years ago, Long Island Power Authority sought proposals for solar energy projects that would generate 100 megawatts of power —enough to power about 13,000 homes —and 76 solar projects across Long Island were selected in April.  (more…)

05/19/14 8:00am
05/19/2014 8:00 AM
Island View Road was repaired this week. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Island View Road was repaired this week. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A Greenport shorefront that was left a mess after work on a Long Island Power Authority cable to Shelter Island came to a halt last summer has been restored, with safe access to the beach now available for area residents just in time for Memorial Day.

Southold Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando said the damage along Island View Lane, which lies just outside the village’s borders, had previously been covered with steel plating and yellow barricades. (more…)

01/28/14 11:00am
01/28/2014 11:00 AM

FILE PHOTO | Drill rigs rusting at Crescent Beach last Autumn during botched efforts to run an electric cable between the North Fork and the Island.

There’s no start date and there might not even be a plan.

The LIPA cable project that ground to a halt after months of missed deadlines, botched work, cost overruns and cheery reports that all was well, is now in the hands of the new power provider, PSEG.

A PSEG spokesman on Monday said he’s not free to discuss in detail the status of the project.

Jeffrey Weir, the director of communications for PSEG, told a Times/Review reporter that PSEG has been evaluating the situation that resulted in the Long Island Power Authority firing its contractor, Bortech, last fall after failure to be able to resolve an equipment breakdown that left the project in limbo.

PSEG took over LIPA on Jan. 1 and received a Jan. 10 letter from Shelter Island Town Supervior Jim Dougherty asking that the project to replace cables damaged during Superstorm Sandy be given a high priority. Previously, town officials had been told plans were in place to return generators to Shelter Island this spring to ensure that, if the remaining cable become inoperable, there would still be electric power.

Mr. Weir said he couldn’t comment further about the plans for the generators being returned to the Island.

“I’m not entirely certain what all progress has been made,” Mr. Weir said. “It’s a complicated situation and they’re working it through,” he said, referring to PSEG officials. “Our main concern is making sure the residents of Shelter Island have reliable and safe power and so whatever it takes to make that happen, we’ll do that.”

While Shelter Islanders have had to worry about sustaining power since the project got under way last spring, residents on both sides of the Harbor have been disturbed by noise and dirt associated with the project that initially was supposed to be completed by Memorial Day last May. Continued problems led to constant delays and just when it finally appeared that completion was in sight at the end of August, a piece of drilling rig broke just 500 feet short of the Greenport side.

By October, LIPA fired Bortech. But word was a new contractor would be hired with work due to begin again in January. LIPA said the delay was, at least in part, linked to the PSEG takeover of operations in January.

Then in December, Mr. Dougherty announced that he had been told by LIPA officials — still in charge until PSEG took over operations January 1 — that no work would begin for months, but that generators would be returned to Shelter Island this spring.

Mr. Dougherty said then he wanted assurances the project would be completed by April 30.

[email protected]

10/07/13 10:43am
CARRIE MILLER FILE PHOTO | Equipment and a portable bathroom in front of the home of Robert and Celia Swing at the intersection of Island View Lane and Bay Shore Road.

CARRIE MILLER FILE PHOTO | Equipment and a portable bathroom in front of the home of Robert and Celia Swing at the intersection of Island View Lane and Bay Shore Road.

Days after the Long Island Power Authority fired the contractor installing an electrical distribution cable from Greenport to Shelter Island, neighbors inconvenienced by the noise from months of heavy drilling say they want to see the project moved to another location.

“I just don’t think they should think about the same location again,” said Greenport resident Celia Swing, who lives with her husband directly next to the drilling site at the intersection of Island View Lane and Bay Shore Road.

The $9 million project aimed at boosting Shelter Island’s power supply stalled in August when a when a piece of the drill rig broke off in the pipeline 500 feet from the Greenport shoreline.

LIPA, which fired Bortech, the subcontractor hired for the project, last week said work on the project will not continue until next year.

Ms. Swing said the residents of her street have already been impacted enough.

“Maybe a commercial area would be better because there is no point for them to do this [here] again,” she said. “It is such a hardship for the community and everyone has lost their beach. They have to look at other options. This is a gigantic effort and there is no simple solution.”

LIPA Chief Operating Officer John McMahon expressed regret for the way the project played out during a LIPA board meeting last week.

“It took longer than we wanted it to, and the impact of the residents in the area affected by construction was unfortunate and we regret that,” he said.

Ms. Swing said she has not yet heard from LIPA, but she hopes they will involve the community before the project picks up again next year.

[email protected]

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.