Home News Greenport Village Government Problem at Greenport power plant prevents transformer switchover planned for this morning
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Problem at Greenport power plant prevents transformer switchover planned for this morning

The planned switchover of power load this morning from transformer two to transformer one did not go as planned, Mayor George Hubbard said in an interview this morning. The village will make another attempt, likely next week, after workers figure out what went wrong, the mayor said.

The village electric department intended to switch the load back to transformer one, which has not been used since last summer’s power outage, during a planned service interruption this morning beginning at 3 a.m. The switch was going to be done in sections, one feeder at a time. At 3 a.m., workers powered off the first of seven feeders at the plant to make the switch to transformer one, but “the relays would not let the breakers hold it in place,” Hubbard said.

A&F Testing was on site to help the department with the transfer. The workers were not able to trouble shoot the problem and after an hour restored power on the one line that had been shut down, the mayor said.

“They did all the tests they could” before turning it back on — on transformer two — at 4 a.m., Hubbard said.

“The last time we were running on it everything worked,” he said. “We will figure it out,” he said, expressing confidence, “and we’ll do it over, probably next week.”

The transfer from transformer two to transformer one is needed in order to run a test on transformer one that’s required by state regulators.

The village energized transformer one last Friday for the first time since the outage last summer. That went fine, without a hitch, Hubbard said. But there was no load on it. That was supposed to happen today.

The power plant is supposed to be able to switch load between transformers without interrupting power, but can’t do that because of a wiring error made by a contractor working on a system upgrade, according to village officials. The issue came to light last August, when the village was left without power for 14 hours.

In October, village administrator Paul Pallas said the outage resulted because “the transformer that feeds into the relay switch gear was wired backwards,” during a recent upgrade, 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.”

Transformer one will have to be rewired — at significant cost. The trustees on Oct. 28 authorized village attorney Joe Prokop to commence a legal proceeding related to the engineering and design portions of the power plant upgrade. That lawsuit was filed about two weeks ago, Hubbard said in an interview earlier this week.

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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.