Power Struggle Over Proposed CL&P Upgrade

Power lines already stand tall in some East Granby neighborhoods. A proposed power line upgrade could mean more of them in the town. Connecticut Light and Power submitted a plan that would involve more 345-kilovolt lines along the Bloomfield to Springfield, Massachusetts power line.

"It's intended to improve the reliability of this entire region at the most reasonable cost, and also at the least impact to the environment," said Frank Poirot, a spokesman for Northeast Utilities.

The power company still needs approval from the Connecticut Siting Council. Regulators held a public hearing Tuesday to hear what East Granby homeowners think. Opponents say underground lines would be a better alternative because overhead power lines pose a threat to residents and nature.

"The proposed 6.2 mile route through East Granby crosses 13 water courses and will disturb 41 delineated wetland areas," said Jennifer Frank of East Granby.

"Property values of our homes with the power transmitting EMF's coming up and glowing red lines, which I've seen with my own eyes, they're going to drop dramatically," said Ken Ouellette of East Granby.

But Supporters of the project think lower-cost overhead power lines are the best option for the power grid and the economy.

"We must keep the cost down so that everyone can afford electricity. Low-income residents cannot afford substantial rate increases," said James Willingham, President of the Urban League of Greater Hartford.

"The need for affordable and reliable energy is the key to economic growth both in the region as a whole and in their individual businesses and entities," said Oz Griebel, President of the Metro Hartford Alliance.

This was just the first of three public hearings on upgrading power lines. Ultimately it's up to the Siting Council to make the decision.

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