LIPA IS PLANNING TO ERECT HUGE POWER LINES ALONG THE SCENIC BACK ROADS OF OUR BEAUTIFUL TOWN
WE HAVE TO STAY INFORMED - WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER - HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bad News Today, But Hope For The Future

After listening to unanimous opposition of the current LIPA proposal to bury only half of their proposed power lines, and unanimous support of a surcharge to fund the necessary balance required to bury all of the lines, the LIPA Board of Trustees still voted unanimously to move forward with their current plan to bury only 55% of the lines.

But it's not all bad news...Despite the vote to continue with their current plan, several members of the LIPA Board of Trustees seemed to be moved by the large pressence and strong opposition of many South Fork residents at the Board of Trustees meeting at LIPA's headquarters in Uniondale today. Board Chairman Jim LaRocca and President & CEA Kevin Law acknowledged the crowd's overwhelming message to bury the lines, and said that they will continue to work with Town of Southampton officials towards an agreement to bury all of the lines.

Chairman LaRocca said that, by voting to accept the Final Environmental Impact Statement (which many people challenged the findings of), LIPA could now begin the bidding process. But in a show of good faith, he promised that the bid would request costs for the plan to bury 55% of the lines, and to bury 100% of the lines.

President Law promised that they would first proceed with the portions of the power lines project that they have already agreed to bury...That way, they could use any and all available time to continue to work with Town officials and the various groups of concerned residents towards finding a solution to bury all of the lines.

Among the sticking points, LIPA's Board was not immediately convinced that there had been enough of a public referendum to support the surcharge, although Southampton Town Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst strongly contended that, citing the thousands of letters of support, and only minimal letters of protest.

In addition, LIPA is concerned about the potential precedent of allowing a group of people to demand the full burial of the power lines in their area (which has never been done before.). There was also a desire by LIPA to seek indemnification from any potential lawsuits that may be brought against them in response to the enactment of a surcharge (although LIPA has never required indemnification in any other project in their history.). This could be a potential problem, in that the Town of Southampton does not have the legal authority to indemnify LIPA against lawsuits.

What does this all mean?

It means that, although LIPA will move forward as of now with their 55% line burial plan, they will bid the project out for 55% burial and 100% burial, and will continue to work with us to try to find a way to bury all of the lines.

So...what can you do to help?

Continue to check this website for the latest information on the LIPA power lines issue. In the near future there are sure to be more letter-writing campaigns to LIPA and our local media outlets, as well as possibly more public hearings to attend (sorry!). Another important thing you can do is talk to your friends and neighbors about this issue, and make sure they have the latest information. And most importantly, support the concept of a minimal LIPA surcharge!

We are making progress...LIPA is listening to us, and is willing to work with us to find a solution. Keep checking back here for the latest status, and be ready for the next round.

Together, we will Bury The Lines!

Monday, February 25, 2008

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO TO HELP IS COME TO THE LIPA BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH!

The final step in the efforts the Bury The Lines is to attend the LIPA Board of Trustees meeting and show our support for the proposed surcharge required to bury the remaining half of the lines.

The Committee for a Green South Fork has chartered two free Hampton Jitney buses to transport concerned residents to the LIPA Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26th. The buses will leave from in front of the movie theater in Sag Harbor at 8:30 am, and from the Rite-Aid Pharmacy parking lot in Southampton Village at 9am. The busses will return at 3pm (free lunch will be provided on the bus)...So, get on the bus with us, and let's celebrate on the ride home!

Please RSVP to: info@buryLIPAcables.com.

For those who wish to drive directly, LIPA's address is 333 Earle Ovington Blvd. in Uniondale, NY (near Nassau Coliseum).

If you are in NYC, LIPA is a quick 30-minute drive:
Queens Midtown Tunnel to I-495E to Northern Parkway;
Take Exit 38 on Northern Pkwy toward Hauppauge (2.2 miles);
Merge onto Meadowbrook Pkwy South via Exit 31A (2.6 miles);
Take Rt-24W Exit/Exit M4 - toward Hempstead/Coliseum (0.4 miles);
Take Chas Lindbergh Blvd. ramp (0.1 miles);
Merge onto Charles Lindbergh Blvd. (0.5 miles);
End at 333 Earle Ovington Blvd., LIPA HQ. (Uniondale).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Southampton Town Board Passes Resolution

A surprise snow storm couldn't shake the resolve of a determined group of South Fork residents (and politicians) who are working hard make sure that all of LIPA's newly-proposed power lines are buried.

Bolstered by a strong showing of support from a packed auditorium, the Southampton Town Board voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of a LIPA surcharge required to bury 100% of the proposed power lines to run between Southampton, Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor.

The resolution, sponsored by Council-members Anna Throne-Holst and Chris Nuzzi, was passed unanimously after virtually every speaker voiced their support. In addition, Supervisor Linda Kabot mentioned that, to date, the Town's office had received 220 letters supporting the surcharge, and only 6 against it.

Click below to download and read the resolution passed by the Southampton Town Board in support of the proposed LIPA surcharge:

Southampton Town Board Resolution # 7633

The next (and hopefully final) step will occur when the resolution is sent to LIPA's Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, February 26th to be voted on.

IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT WE GET THE LARGEST GROUP OF SUPPORTS POSSIBLE TO ATTEND LIPA'S BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING! Even though the resolution was passed unanimously by the Town, and there were many letters of support sent to the Town, LIPA is still on the fence about whether or not they will vote to pass this resolution. If they do not pass this resolution, LIPA will proceed with their already-approved plans to bury only half of the lines.

THE ONLY WAY WE CAN CONVINCE LIPA TO BURY ALL THE LINES IS WITH OUR NUMBERS. PLEASE READ THE POST ABOVE FOR DETAILS ON THE FREE JITNEY SERVICE TO THE LIPA BOARD MEETING ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Public Hearing To Discuss LIPA Surcharge

The Southampton Town Board will hold a public hearing on Friday, February 22nd at 1pm to hear feedback on a small surcharge to bury 100% of the proposed LIPA power lines (details of the surcharge can be found in the "Southampton Considering Surcharge Options" post below). A usage-based surcharge would cost most rate-payers around $5/month (see the "LIPA Surcharge Calculator" post below.)

It is very important that as many people as possible attend this hearing and support the resolution. It there is enough positive response, it will encourage the Town to pass the resolution. It would then be forwarded to LIPA to be discussed and voted on at their next Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, February 26th at 11am.

If this resolution does not pass, LIPA will proceed with the plan that their Board has already approved, which is to bury only half of the lines. That construction is scheduled to begin in March, so we are out of time. This is our last recourse to get all of these lines buried.

Make your voice heard at the Southampton Town Board meeting:
Friday, February 22nd, 1pm
Southampton Town Hall
116 Hampton Road
Southampton, NY

We also need to let LIPA know that we support this surcharge:
The Committee for a Green South Fork has chartered a Hampton Jitney bus to transport concerned residents to the LIPA Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26th. The bus will leave from the Rite-Aid Pharmacy parking lot in Southampton Village at 9am, and will return at 3pm. Please RSVP to info@buryLIPAcables.com. For those who wish to drive directly, LIPA's address is 333 Earle Ovington Blvd. in Uniondale, NY (near Nassau Coliseum).

LIPA Surcharge Calculator

Scroll down to calculate your estimated LIPA surcharge (you will need your annual Kilowatt Hours usage...If you don't know what that is, read the next post down to see how you can find out what your Kilowatt Hours usage was last year).












Enter annual Kilowatt Hours:
$ per Year, or $ per Month

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Southampton Considering Surcharge Options

After meeting with members of LIPA, The Town of Southampton now has a few options that they are considering with regards to the surcharge for burying the remaining power lines not included in LIPA's power line project. The Town Board plans to hold a public hearing on Friday, February 22nd (time to be determined) to present these options, and hear public feedback on them.

There are two surcharge options being considered: One option is to charge a flat fee of $4 per month per house or business ($48 per year). The other option is to base the surcharge on usage. According to LIPA, the average house in the Town of Southampton used 12,856 Kilowatt Hours last year and, based on that, the average surcharge would be $3.67 per month ($44 per year). The actual charge would ultimately be determined by actual usage, which seems the most fair way to assess the surcharge: Those who consume more will bear a larger burden, and those who conserve and consume less will pay less.

Here is the formula used to calculate your estimated annual surcharge: Your annual Kilowatt Hours used divided by 12,856 then multiplied by 44. Then divide by 12 for the monthly breakdown.

You can obtain your annual Kilowatt Hours by calling LIPA at 1-800-490-0025 (follow prompts 1, 3, 1, then enter your LIPA account number, and then press 0 to speak to an operator).

You can then use the calculator below to easily calculate your yearly/monthly surcharge based on your power usage from last year.
(Please excuse the large gap, it's a javascript code problem)












Enter annual Kilowatt Hours:
$ per Year, or $ per Month


Friday, February 1, 2008

LIPA, Politicians Meet To Discuss Surcharge

In a promising step towards an agreement to bury all of the proposed LIPA lines, NY State Assemblyman Fred Thiele is meeting with Kevin Law, President and CEO of LIPA today to formally discuss options for a surcharge that will help pay for the additional costs to bury the lines.

Read the Newsday article on the proposed LIPA surcharge meeting

Power Lines Issue Gets Star Power Support

Christie Brinkley is using her influence to bring attention to the LIPA power lines project. It started off with her forwarding the petition opposing the lines to all of her friends, and now she has been covered in the press and appeared on TV to protest LIPA's proposed above-ground power lines and huge poles.

Read the Newsday article that quoted Christie Brinkley here
Read the NY Post Page Six item on Christie Brinkley here

Thursday, January 31, 2008

LIPA Considers Surcharge Idea

It appears that LIPA may finally be bending to our community's demands to bury the lines...but in order to do so, they are looking for someone to help foot the bill.

In an article posted on Hamptons.com Tuesday evening, LIPA's Communications Director Edward Dumas was quoted as saying "We would like to comply with the community's wishes, but we have to figure out a way to recoup the additional $10 million cost involved."

LIPA has estimated that the current proposal - which involves burying only 55% of the lines - will cost them approximately $20 million. But due to the community's firm opposition of any new above-ground power lines, LIPA is now investigating the possibility of creating a special rate surcharge in order to close the $10 million funding gap they claim is necessary to bury the remaining 45% of the lines.

With LIPA finally appearing ready to explore the possibility of burying all of the power lines, now is the time to keep the pressure on them to make good. We also need to tell our elected officials that if we as individuals support a small, reasonable surcharge, we expect them to contribute financially towards the solution as well. We need our officials to commit to finding a way to use the Community Preservation Fund, and/or the Town of Southampton's budget surplus in order to keep the surcharge amount as low as possible, and to demonstrate that they are just as willing to help fund the solution as we as individuals are (Read the post below titled "A Fair Proposal," and then see the post titled "What You Can Do To Help").

Read the Hamptons.com article on LIPA burying all the lines here

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Small Victory - Halfway There

In a small victory last week, LIPA gave in a little and agreed to bury additional portions of their proposed power lines in Southampton and Bridgehampton, bringing the total percentage of buried lines to 55%. However, they they still plan to use above-ground power lines on new, larger poles on the remaining 45% of the route which runs all throughout Water Mill, along large stretches of scenic Head of Pond Road and Scuttle Hole Road (click the image below to see the route).



These new, larger poles and power lines could create a significant hazard in the event that a major storm or hurricane hits the East End: If Route 27 becomes flooded (which happens easily), these back roads represent the evacuation route for the entire South Fork on Long Island east of Southampton...And if even a single power line goes down along LIPA's proposed route along the back roads, any evacuation would be cut off. Furthermore, the presence of these new poles and power lines will create a major eyesore to residents and property owners along the proposed route, as well as all others who travel it. It will also significantly reduce property values along the route, which is an especially prickly topic considering that the recent property tax increases were based on property values assessed prior to these new poles and liens going up.

A Fair Proposal: Shared Responsibility And Cost

The proposal that we advocate concerning LIPA's Power Line project is one of shared responsibility and shared cost. These power lines should be buried, there is no one (outside of LIPA) that disputes that. It would be wonderful if LIPA took it upon themselves to pay for the entire cost of burying all of the lines, but as of now, that is not the case.

In fairness, LIPA is paying to bury approximately half of the lines. So, rather than wait to see what happens with the other half, we are recommending that the residents and property owners of the South Fork, and our town's government share in this responsibility, and bridge the cost gap necessary to bury the other half of the lines.

Firstly, we support exploration into using a portion of the Town of Southampton's budget surplus to help pay for the burial of lines.

Secondly, we support exploration into the possibility of using a portion of the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) to pay for the burial of lines that would otherwise be suspended from poles in open spaces along the proposed route.

Thirdly, if necessary, we support the creation of some type of minimal assessment that South Fork property owners and LIPA customers would pay - Something in the vicinity of five dollars per month.

One of the proposals, from the Committee for a Green South Fork, calls for an annual assessment of $20/million dollars of assessed property value - Which, for the average house in our town, would result in a fee of around $40-$80 per year.

Another proposal, suggested by the Sag Harbor Express, puts forth the idea of paying a surcharge of a few dollars/month for power "over-usage" beyond a reasonable level.

Both of these are fair and reasonable proposals, and if either one of them could be put into effect in conjunction with using a portion of the town's budget surplus and/or community preservation fund, it could yield ample financial resources with which to fund the burial of the remaining lines.

Please see the "What You Can Do To Help" section below to find a list of people you can call, fax, write or E-mail to urge them to consider one, some, or all of the recommendations listed above. You may not agree with all of the recommendations, but pick one that you do believe in and make a call, write a letter or send an E-mail in support of it...Or suggest one of your own! The important thing is to make you voice heard.

What You Can Do To Help

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO TO HELP IS COME TO THE LIPA BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH!

The final step in the efforts the Bury The Lines is to attend the LIPA Board of Trustees meeting and show our support for the proposed surcharge required to bury the remaining half of the lines.

The Committee for a Green South Fork has chartered a Hampton Jitney bus to transport concerned residents to the LIPA Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26th. The bus will leave from the Rite-Aid Pharmacy parking lot in Southampton Village at 9am, and will return at 3pm (lunch will be provided on the bus!).

Please RSVP to: info@buryLIPAcables.com.

For those who wish to drive directly, LIPA's address is 333 Earle Ovington Blvd. in Uniondale, NY (near Nassau Coliseum).
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Click the links below to download a "No Poles - Bury the Lines" poster:
Color poster (for color printers)
Black & White poster (for faxing)
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Write a letter and mail or fax it to one of the LIPA executives below. Tell them that you support a reasonable surcharge ($5/month) in order to bury 100% of the power lines. Also, feel free to download a "No Poles - Bury the Lines" poster to include with you letter or fax. Just remember to put it to the attention of one of the names below:

Kevin Law - President & CEO
James Larocca - Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Edward Dumas - Vice President of Communications

Long Island Power Authority
Suite # 403, Attn:
333 Earle Ovington Blvd
Uniondale, New York 11553

Phone: (516) 222-7700
Fax: (516) 222-9137
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Other things you can do:
Sign the online petition to bury the LIPA lines here
Make a donation to a legal defense fund here