By MARK HARRINGTON
Updated September 28, 2014 10:43 PM

 

Long Island ratepayers could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars for off-Island power-line improvement projects.

The potential costs come from LIPA’s association with a consortium of transmission owners offering plans for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed state Energy Highway.

The public-private consortium, known as the New York Transmission Owners, or Transco, in 2012 offered 18 separate proposals costing $2.9 billion for New York power-line upgrades to help eliminate bottlenecks in moving power throughout the state, chiefly from north to south. Among the projects was one to upgrade components of an undersea cable from East Garden City to Westchester.

But since that time, the project list has been reduced, with only three being actively offered for the short term. The Long Island project, at least for now, is not on the active list.

But that doesn’t mean LIPA and its ratepayers are shielded from potential costs.

According to filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Transco, which is made up primarily of investor-owned utilities, including Con Edison and National Grid, wants regulators to back its original plan for dispersing costs for the remaining projects, which are in Oneida and Westchester counties, and New York City. The request would leave Long Island ratepayers on the hook for 16.7 percent, or about $80 million, of the costs for those projects, the total value of which is $478 million.

At the same time, sources said New York State Electric & Gas, one of the investor-owned utilities in the group, is preparing to file a case with federal regulators seeking to recoup costs of the first project in Transco’s to-do list — an upstate power-line upgrade. NYSEG, which is owned by international energy conglomerate Iberdrola, operates across the upstate region. A NYSEG spokesman declined to comment.