Protect Ghent update 03.04.2013

Last week, NYSEG submitted the first part of its analysis* of the low-voltage alternative. Today, DPS staff filed comments to the NYSEG analysis.

NYSEG’s highly technical analysis includes an engineering review, NYSEG’s proposed routing for the low voltage alternative, and a cost comparison to the proposed 115 kv line. On the engineering front, the gist of their assessment is that the low voltage alternative will work, with some changes they suggest. In the DPS response, DPS staff questions many of the suggested changes proposed by NYSEG.

On the routing, keep in mind these are regular-height poles running along roads, often on existing lines. And, as you review them, note that most of the lines as drawn are not anticipated to be needed or built, but are lines that could be built out in the future if load growth exceeds what is projected. In contrast, the DPS map of the low voltage alternative is here.

On the cost front, the low voltage alternative has been divided into two phases, Phase I and Phase II. NYSEG has acknowledged that Phase I is all that is needed for the foreseeable future in terms of load growth. They have priced the high voltage alternative at around $39 million, Phase I of the low voltage alternative at around $35 million, and the combined Phase I and Phase II of the low voltage at around $58 million. DPS questions many of the cost estimates included in the NYSEG analysis, indicating that NYSEG has overestimated costs for the low voltage line.

NYSEG is scheduled to deliver additional materials relating to their evaluation in April. DPS has proposed April 21st for an on-the-record procedural conference. We’ll keep you posted on the scheduling when finalized.

The upshot of all of this is that the low-voltage alternative is still very much in the running, and we remain cautiously optimistic as we move forward. We are very grateful for DPS staff’s thorough and careful review of these materials.

* additional filing documents can be viewed at the PSC website

Please let us know if you have any questions: protectghent@gmail.com.

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