BREWSTER, N.Y. - Help is on the way for some North Salem and Somers residents plagued by frequent blackouts.

Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey, North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas and Deputy Supervisor Peter Kamenstein met with NYSEG CEO Carl Taylor and other personnel in their Brewster Office on April 3 following the hearing last month with Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown), chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations.

During the meeting in Brewster, NYSEG presented its plan for making the Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess electrical systems more resilient. 

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“This is the first time they have gone over specific capital improvements they will be doing,” Lucas said.

Later this year, the utility will be doing pruning in North Salem on the Golden’s Bridge and Croton Falls lines and replacing some substandard poles, adding seven reclosure units in town on various lines to improve availability and replacing breakers in the Croton Falls substation.

NYSEG said it will use stronger poles, better conductor and heavier gauge wires that should be able to withstand heavier tree loading than the existing wires.

“I expect the improvements to continue year to year, over time, providing a more robust system,” Lucas said.

Going forward, Lucas said the Town Board will need to discuss thinning trees as about 80 percent of the trees that take down power lines are not in the NYSEG right of way.

“Right now we have too many trees in too small a space; that is what happens when open fields start growing trees,” Lucas said. “On top of that, we have a variety of invasive species such as the ash borer and various vines. These weaken or kill trees and cause premature failures.”

Additionally, NYSEG laid out its plans for the underground improvements over the next four years in subdivisions such as Heritage Hills, Wild Oaks, Dalton Farms, Oakridge, Willows, Chelsea Cove, Greenbriar, Primrose Farms, Fox Run and Indian Hill.

“In all cases, the wires are underground already and they are replacing them in some cases,” Lucas said. “Some developments will be completed in the year it starts. Others, like Heritage Hills, will take multiple years to complete.”