Big news about our power line fight

You will soon receive a formal notice from NYSEG stating that the active parties to the Columbia County Transmission Line case (NYSEG, DPS, the Town of Ghent, Protect Ghent, Benjy Swett, Dept. of Ag & Markets and DEC) have agreed to enter into settlement negotiations focused on the DPS-proposed 34.5 kv low voltage alternative (the “Low Voltage Line”)!

It’s not over yet–there are certainly details in dispute–but Protect Ghent is cautiously optimistic. We support the Low Voltage Line and believe it will have the least impact on our community of any proposal. Plus, an added benefit of the Low Voltage Line is that it strengthens our local energy distribution grid. A low voltage solution is what the Town of Ghent proposed and has supported from Day 1, and has been advanced now by DPS Staff, with Protect Ghent’s support.

Please note that the settlement negotiations will be confidential, so we won’t be reporting on the exact details but will let you know all we can. You can, however, rest assured that Protect Ghent will not settle for any solution that does not comport with our mission.

The next step is that NYSEG will be sending out a notice to landowners affected by the Low Voltage Line, and will hold some public meetings (and we will be there as well of course). Over the summer, the active parties will have a series of confidential settlement meetings to hammer out the details. If no resolution can be found, back-up hearing dates have been tentatively set for the fall. We’re hopeful we won’t need them!

1 – Most of the Low Voltage Line will be on existing rights of way (either on existing poles and lines or existing poles and lines will be rebuilt and upgraded).

2 – The Low Voltage Line runs alongside roads on regular-height poles.

3 – Even if NYSEG were to build the 115 kv line it had originally proposed, NYSEG would have to implement some, if not most, of these upgrades/rebuilds for the existing 34.5 kv infrastructure anyway. In other words, the Low Voltage Line (or something very similar) would have to be built whether they build the high voltage line or not. And you may have noticed that NYSEG is actually already upgrading 34.5 kV poles in many areas of the Town, such as along Leggett Road.  The proposal currently under discussion would look very much like those upgrades.

You can view the current proposals here. The key at the bottom of each map indicates which segments are new vs. existing vs. upgrades, and which segments are anticipated to be built in the short-term and which might need to be built in the future.

For a quick snapshot view, we have created a combined map with all segments on which we’ve isolated the NEW segments of Low Voltage Line right of way (marked in yellow). All other segments of the proposed line (based on current mapping) would be built on existing poles and lines OR the existing poles and lines would be rebuilt and upgraded (but would be substantially similar).  Also take note that in some cases (such as along Route 9) there is no existing power line, but there are existing poles and lines for telephone/cable etc. It is possible that the new 34.5 kv line would be able to be placed on those poles, or those poles could be upgraded and all utilities could exist on those lines.

The feeder maps were provided by NYSEG. We have requested shape files which will allow us to create an interactive Google map showing these proposed lines.

Please let us know if you have any questions:

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