EDITORIAL: Settling’s better for power and people

The Columbia Paper
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:24

IF YOU LIVE, work or visit Ghent, Stockport, Chatham, possibly Austerlitz and Hillsdale too, something out of the ordinary is going on. You might not notice it if you don’t pay attention. Even if you do notice, you may see nothing change. That’s the idea.

Over the last couple of years the Town on Ghent and a group of citizens called Protect Ghent has challenged a plan by the power company NYSEG, which proposed a 115 kilovolt (KV) power line running in part through the center of the town. The company said the line was necessary as an alternative supply of electricity to Churchtown and Craryville in the event that storms cut the main line.

It sounded reasonable until Ghent residents learned that the power lines NYSEG asked the state to approve would require huge towers and new rights of way that would change the character of the town. That was a concern not given much weight in NYSEG’s original plan. Big mistake.

It shouldn’t matter. NYSEG is a regulated utility that supplies the power we need to light our homes, refrigerate our food and charge our cell phones. You’d think this company knows what it takes to get the job done, right?… Yes and no.

Engineers for the town of Ghent had a different idea. They suggested that instead of carving a new right-of-way through some of the most scenic parts of town, NYSEG could transmit electricity at a much lower voltage, which would allow the company to run the new lines on roadside utility poles and eliminate the need for looming towers and a reconfigured landscape. read more

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