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Power plans push forward

Residents have expressed concerns that they would see a spike in their National Grid bills, but Stella said that wouldn't be the case.

"You are not going to see a rise in your electricity bill all of a sudden because we are doing this project," said Stella.

Money for infrastructure upgrades is allocated through the delivery fees charged to customers, said Stella, so the funding doesn't need to be acquired through dramatically increased charges.

Dalton said the new lines need to be built in order to ensure power during high-demand periods, such as warm summers days.

"During peak periods, you want to have reliability on the system," said Dalton.

The long-range needs of the region will also be addressed by the project. The state Public Service Commission said the upgrades will alleviate the danger of thermal overloads, which could potentially damage facilities and leave thousands of customers without service.

"It is an area we have been looking at for several years," said Stella. "It is the largest growth area in upstate New York in our service territory, so there is a need for the reinforcement of the electrical system there. GlobalFoundries has begun construction of their facility as well, and that certainly heightened the need."

National Grid stated in its application that performance of their transmission system in the Northeast region was marginally acceptable in the summer of 2009. By the summer of 2012 their transmission system was expected to be unacceptable. Part of the increased demand on the system is due to GlobalFoundries, which is expected to have a minimum peak load of 40 MVA by the summer of 2012, which accounts for more than half of the expected minimum load increase of 71 MVA that summer, according to National Grid.

At public hearings held on the project, customers had voiced concerns that GlobalFoundries should front the bill for the project due to the large demand required in the future. Stella contended National Grid was moving forward with plans for the new lines before GlobalFoundries committed to building its facility, and the upgrade is needed even without the strong pull on the system.

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