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Greenport Village
Village power system will undergo planned service outages early Friday

Photo: Denise Civiletti

There will be a planned interruption of electric service in the Village of Greenport early Friday morning.

The interruption in service will begin at approximately 3 a.m. and is expected to last an hour or less for any one customer.

The planned interruption is the result of a test called a Demonstrated Maximum Net Capability test required by the state, village administrator Paul Pallas told the board of trustees Thursday night. Doing the test requires the village to transfer the power load at its power plant from one transformer to another and it cannot accomplish the transfer without shutting down the system, Pallas said. Until remediation work is completed, the generators can’t parallel with transformer one, he explained. The DMNC test must be done between March 1 and April 15, Pallas said.

The entire test, which will be done in stages, should take no more two hours, Pallas said. Each circuit should only be out for less than an hour, probably no more than 30 minutes, according to Pallas.

Pallas said Thursday night that the light department planned to energize transformer one the following morning. “Energizing it has very low risk,” Pallas said. “There will be no load on it. We’re just turning it on.” Once that’s done successfully, the village will formally schedule the shutdown and transfer for Feb. 26.

Transformer one had not been energized since the power failure last August, he said.

Greenport was left without power for 14 hours on Aug. 20 that began when a relay caused both of the plant’s sub-stations to trip off-line, according to a press release about the incident issued by the village. That began a cascade of events that took electric department officials hours to remedy.

In October, Pallas said the outage resulted because “the transformer that feeds into the relay switch gear was wired backwards,” he said. “That told the circuit breaker that there was a problem with the transformer when there wasn’t, and when it got to a certain point, that transformer tripped offline and precipitated the whole event.”

On Oct. 28, the trustees authorized village attorney Joe Prokop to commence a legal proceeding related to the engineering and design portions of the power plant upgrade.

Former trustee William Swiskey, who once served as village utilities director had scathing criticism for the village administrator’s plans for switching the load to transformer one. He said re-powering transformer one should require an outage of no more than five minutes. “And I’ll swear to that,” he said. “Talking about hours is ridiculous. It tells me somebody doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing. In fact how did we wind up with a transformer we cant parallel to? That’s scary. That points to pure incompetence from day one,” Swiskey said. He predicted the village will have to spend “half a million dollars to rewind the new transformer to match the old one… unless you’re going to buy a very expensive regulator and put it ahead of one or the other so you can match the voltages.”

Swiskey also criticized Pallas for not powering up transformer one before now. He said it could be “full of moisture” as a result of not being fired up.

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.