K’hook would prefer more power be less visible

The newly placed transformer in the Village of Kinderhook. Photo by Emilia Teasdale

KINDERHOOK—Mayor Dale Leiser reported on the status of work on the poles and power lines in the village at the regular meeting June 9. An email also went out to people on the village mailing list that day with information about the work, saying that many villagers “have shared questions and concerns about the electrical upgrades.”

At the meeting, Mayor Leiser said that National Grid, the power company for the village, told him the company is “changing out transformers” and poles. National Grid did not mention which transformers.

A transformer went up on Hudson Street suspended between two poles. Mayor Leiser said he called National Grid, saying “this is unacceptable” and received three options from the company. One option is to leave the new equipment where it is; the second option is to put the transformer in a box on the ground; the third is to remove all the new equipment.

Mr. Leiser said the ground-level box would be similar to one currently on Rail Road Avenue, though he said that transformer is being removed as part of the upgrade now underway. He said the power lines on Rail Road Avenue, near Mills Park, are being moved underground. The box option for Hudson Street also comes with the issue that the transformers would need to be placed on private property. Mayor Leiser said he contacted the property owner who would be affected but had not heard back by the June 9 meeting. Mayor Leiser confirmed on June 22 that no decision has been made yet on moving the transformer.

At the meeting he also talked about electricity outages being an issue in some parts of the village so there is a need for the transformers.

Several people voiced concerns during the online meeting, held on Zoom. Residents talked about burying power lines, with two residents mentioning a deal between the neighboring Village of Valatie and National Grid not to have power lines on Main Street. In Valatie the power lines run behind the buildings on Main Street.

Patrick Stella, a press representative from National Grid, told The Columbia Paper that the work to replace about 60 to 70 poles in the Village of Kinderhook had been planned for some time. He said that the project is about reliability and reducing outages.

“We are working with the village on that,” he said of the suspended transformer. He said that lines service about 500 to 700 costumers in the area.

At the June meeting, Village Trustee Dorene M. Weir reported on information she had received from National Grid, much of which was also in the email sent out to the mailing list. The email says that regardless of being designated as a historic area, the utility can “install a pole or as many transformers as they deem necessary to deliver the best service to their customers.”

The email also said National Grid is not required to notify the municipality about any work that the utility plans to do. During the meeting Mayor Leiser did announce some power outages in the coming days due to the work.

Also addressed in the email is the issue of redundant poles. The cable and internet companies in the village, Consolidated Communications and Spectrum, are moving their lines to the new poles, so the old poles “will be removed only after the two cable/internet companies move their lines onto the new poles.” The email does say that if the village feels this process is taking “an undue amount of time” officials can file a complaint with the Public Service Commission.

‘We are working with the village on that.’

Patrick Stella, National Grid

on K’hook village power outages

As for the possibility of burying more lines, Mr. Stella said that National Grid follows the municipality’s lead. He said there is a significant increase in the cost for the work to bury the lines, and engineering studies would need to be done. He said the benefits from burying lines are fewer power outages; but when there is an outage it takes a longer time to repair.

As for the current project in the village, Mr. Stella said the goal is to get the work done by the fall.

The next Village Board meeting is Wednesday, July 14 at 7 p.m. Information on how to attend the meeting will be at www.villageofkinderhook.org

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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