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Local News

February 6, 2014

State delays review of power-line plan

The state agency that oversees electricity transmission has hit the pause button on a review of a controversial proposal to add new high-voltage power lines in upstate New York, pleasing local residents concerned about the eminent domain potential of a widened power corridor.

“I have run into some landowners who didn’t even know their property was on the route for the proposed power line,” said Barbara Monroe, the Milford code enforcement officer. “This will give us time to get organized.”

Last month, she organized a meeting in New Lisbon that drew some 30 people with concerns about the plans to run a new 345-kilovolt power line through Otsego and Delaware Counties.

Since then, two commissioners for the state Public Service Commission, David Prestemon and Michelle Phillips, directed that there be an indefinite postponement power of the deadline for public comment on five grid projects.

One involves a proposed project — put forward by North America Transmission — that would traverse Otsego and Delaware Counties.

State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said the delay will give local towns and residents an enhanced opportunity to make their case to the PSC.

“I see this as a positive development,” Seward said Wednesday to The Daily Star. “The PSC is sending a clear signal that they aren’t going to fast-track this.”

Seward also voiced reservations about taking power generated upstate and sending it to downstate consumers in order to help them get more affordable electric rates.

“I would like to see an economic analysis done” to determine how such efforts impact electric rates for ratepayers in upstate counties, the senator said.

The proposed line would closely parallel the existing Marcy South line. It would run from the Edic substation in Oneida County to the Fraser substation in the town of Delhi in Delaware County. In addition to running across western Otsego County, from north to south, it would also traverse portions of Oneida and Herkimer counties.

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