By JOE LoTEMPLIO
---- — PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors have agreed to major repairs for the city’s electrical system.
Councilors this week approved a plan to replace transmission lines from outside the city limits to substations within Plattsburgh at a cost of $549,824 and another project to make improvements on city substations for a cost of $287,400.
Municipal Lighting Department Manager William Treacy said the transmission lines that run from outside Plattsburgh into the city substations are almost 50 years old and need to be replaced.
The lines connect a substation on Durand Road in Beekmantown to one on Veterans Lane and another on Tom Miller Road in the Town of Plattsburgh.
In addition to replacing the old lines, some of them will be moved so they don’t interfere with operations at Greymont Plattsburgh Quarry.
“Some of the lines go right over the (quarry) pit, so we will move them to the side,” Treacy said.
“We don’t want to disrupt them, and we don’t want to be disrupted, either.”
The work on replacing the lines will be done by Northline Utilities of AuSable Forks.
The substation upgrades are part of a four-year plan to replace and improve 40-year-old parts, Treacy said.
“They’ve served their time well and need some things to be replaced,” he said.
Treacy said the work is akin to replacing a breaker in a residential home — “except it’s a giant breaker that will trip if something goes wrong in order to protect the customers and the system.”
The substation upgrade will be handled by M. Scher & Son Inc. of Albany.
Both projects will be done this summer.
Treacy said funds for the repairs will come from the MLD reserves and are in the 2013 budget.
“We planned to space these projects out over a four-year span so we don’t have to borrow money to pay for them,” Treacy said.
“With these improvements, we won’t have to worry about them for another 40 or 50 years, hopefully, unless Mother Nature does something unusual.”
MLD is funded by ratepayers within the city. It has long been considered one of the most affordable utilities in the nation.
Mayor Donald Kasprzak said it is important to keep the aging system upgraded.
“We’ve recognized the need to do this, and fortunately we’ve been prudent enough to plan for this to make these upgrades affordable so we can realize the benefit of them,” he said.
“This is going to make the system more reliable and efficient for the foreseeable future.”
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