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Jul 13, 2017 4:33 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: PSEG Officials Will Present Plan To Bury Power Lines In Eastport

The Eastport Fire Station hosted a meeting between residents, legislators and PSEG officials regarding metal poles that were place along County Road 51 between Northampton and Eastport, as well as along Eastport Manor Road. GREG WEHNER
Jul 27, 2017 12:04 PM

UPDATE: Friday, 9:50 a.m.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. confirmed on Friday morning that PSEG will be presenting a plan that will partially bury the power lines along Eastport Manor Road. Details of the plan in terms of where, when and how much the project will cost, have not yet been revealed.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Many of the nearly 175 people who crammed into the Eastport Firehouse for Wednesday night’s meeting with PSEG Long Island officials were burning up well before organizers switched off the building’s air conditioner to ensure that those standing outside could still listen in.

For months, hamlet residents have been seething over the utility’s decision to install, with no advance notice, approximately 175 70-foot-tall metal poles along both Eastport Manor Road and County Road 51 this spring. Most of those who attended the community forum repeated demands that PSEG remove the metal poles—described by some as being akin to the enormous poles featured in the film “Jurassic Park” and used for the dinosaur enclosures—and bury the lines.

Randy Proper of Eastport was one of those people. After thanking local elected officials for attending the gathering, held in stifling conditions after the air conditioner had been shut off and the Union Avenue firehouse’s rear doors opened so onlookers could listen in, Mr. Proper turned his attention to John O’Connell, PSEG’s vice president of transmission and distribution, saying it took a lot of nerve for him to show up knowing how upset residents are over the situation.

“It was the same nerve that you snuck those friggin poles in that we have to drive by and live with here,” Mr. Proper said. “Bury them. Bury them. It can be done.”

“Those poles are horrendous, and they just have to be buried,” added Doug Dittko of Manorville. “There’s an expression: ‘If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig’—so painting [them] is out of the question.”

Mr. Dittko’s comment came after Mr. O’Connell stated that PSEG representatives were still discussing possible solutions, one of which was painting the steel poles, with local officials. Most others in attendance continued to push for the removal of the metal poles along Eastport Manor Road, between Sunrise and Montauk highways.

“We entertained, and are entertaining a lot of options to try and make this better,” Mr. O’Connell said. “We looked at painting. We looked at landscaping. We spoke with elected officials. We got some feedback that they didn’t think that was the right way to go, and we will—and are—entertaining the possibility of undergrounding.”

The lack of commitment clearly upset many hamlet residents, prompting a woman who was standing near the door leading to the outside that PSEG was there to just “blow smoke up our asses.”

Other attendees, including Lloyd Gerard, the owner of Lloyd’s Antiques on Main Street in Eastport, said it is unrealistic of residents to believe that PSEG would spend a hefty sum of money to remove the poles and then absorb the additional cost of burying the transmission lines. He also said that, in the very least, the metal poles should be painted—an observation that prompted groans from the crowd. Mr. Gerard also suggested planting climbing ivy to cover the poles.

The ongoing upgrades in Eastport, as well as along County Road 51 to the north, are part of a $513 million initiative that’s intended to address growing demands for electricity on the South Fork. As part of that work, PSEG installed dozens of the 70-foot-tall metal poles between substations in Riverhead and downtown Eastport.

Though several people repeatedly asked that PSEG commit to removing some of the poles and burying the lines, Mr. O’Connell declined to make such a commitment during a public meeting. “People are bothered by the poles, and they want us to make them go away visually, and want them underground as much as possible,” he said.

Mr. O’Connell added that he was scheduled to meet with Brookhaven Town officials on Thursday to discuss the feedback offered by residents at Wednesday night’s hearing, which was sponsored by the East Moriches Property Owners Association, Eastport Green Project and the Moriches Bay Civic Association. Those in attendance also included State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr., Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski and Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico.

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by the way, 59 of the 79' poles are in Southampton where CR51 crosses into North Hampton
By SH gal (7), southampton on Jul 13, 17 11:13 PM
Southampton officials need to step up here too and work for their "forgotten hamlet"!!!
By Mouthampton (348), Southampton on Jul 14, 17 9:17 AM
These crooks will tack the bill on to the North Sea residents as well, you'll see.
By pw herman (703), southampton on Jul 16, 17 9:03 AM
This is great news!

These poles are out of character for the historic district and it is far more appropriate to have them underground.
By susgeek (32), Speonk on Jul 20, 17 8:02 AM
Too bad PSEGLI does not consider putting all lines underground on the south fork/east end ..... with the storms we are subjected to in both the summer and winter would save a lot of unnecessary outages and repairs which means more overtime dollars that are then passed on to customers.
By leo (12), hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 12:14 PM
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