It is that time of year again as we start to see holiday decorations about town, from storefronts to private homes and yards. The Village of Freeport is no different, as the Freeport Electric Line Section joined with the Freeport Chamber of Commerce to install Holiday Lights all around the Village. The Freeport Chamber of Commerce Holiday Light Committee, chaired by Les Endo of Endo Electric has been purchasing additional lights each year to brighten up the streets for the holiday season. Because of the Chamber of Commerce’s effort, much of the Village’s main streets now have holiday lights.
Power Plant 2 Construction
Construction of the new power plant is well underway. Many of the major plant components and equipment such as the turbine, generator, SCR, stack and electrical control enclosure have been delivered and installed at the site. Progress is easy to see during the assembly of the major components even as you ride by on Meadowbrook Parkway. After the major components are installed the progress will be less apparent as we start to string miles and miles of cable, make cable connections and install piping to make the plant operational.
Electric & Gas Interconnections
Construction of the underground Electric and Gas interconnections is moving along well. The Electric conduits and manholes being installed at the Merrick Train Station is nearing completion. The Utility and its contractors have worked hard to minimize the impact on commuters during this phase of construction.
DEC Decision to Close Power Plant #2 Diesels
On November 26 Erin M. Crotty, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued an order shutting down the diesels at Power Plant #2 on January 31, 2004. This decision could have some major impacts on Freeport Electric ratepayers because it eliminates our ability to respond to emergency conditions such as the "Northeast Blackout of 2003". If the Village did not have the Power Plant #2 diesels during the blackout, the impact to our residents and businesses would have been severe. The rolling blackouts would have lasted significantly longer, businesses would not have been able to stay open and many more perishable items would have been lost.
The irony of the decision is that the diesels have been in a standby mode for over a year. As such, they have not been operating except to perform two agency-mandated capacity tests (about four hours each test) or in an emergency situation such as the Blackout or a call from the New York Independent System Operator declaring a state electrical emergency. Given the fact that the units rarely run it is difficult to understand why the NYSDEC would not allow us to maintain them in a standby status until the new generation unit is complete. The current schedule for completion of that unit is April 1, 2004 however our contractors are trying to improve that date to March 1,2004. Shutdown of the two diesel units would result in a potential monetary impact on our customers also. The Utility is required to meet 93% of its peak load from capacity actually generated on Long Island. With the shutdown of the two diesel generators, the Utility will need to purchase 18 Megawatts of additional capacity from the wholesale energy market. Freeport Electric has seen prices as high as $21.00 per kW month however it depends on market conditions and price. If the Utility has to purchase capacity at a price of $21.00 per kW month, then it would cost our customers an additional $378,000 per month, which equates to about a 20% increase in cost per month. Because of the significance of the increase to our customers the Utility plans to appeal the decision.
From all of us at Freeport Electric, your hometown municipal utility, we want to wish all our friends, neighbors and customers a very happy and healthy holiday season.
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