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RG&E's $250 million plan
Rochester, N.Y. - Rochester Gas and Electrics goal is to upgrade the local power grid through a $250 million plan known as the Rochester Area Reliability Project or RARP.
For RG&E its a quarter-billion dollar boost to a system that was close to reaching maximum capacity.
The massive upgrade will mean more power and could mean fewer and shorter major power outages.
Its also going to give us a modern infrastructure here in the city of Rochester and surround area, said Mark Lynch, President of RG&E and NYSEG.
RARP means more power for homeowners to the Rochester Tech Park, which sits yards from a substation that would receive more power, under the plan.
In case we do have any disturbance on the transmission system it gives us a more robust and reliable system."
13WHAM News was given a rare glimpse inside an RG&E substation in Henrietta. The mass of coils, cables and transmission lines converts high voltage power into lower voltage power transmitted to other substations and eventually used by consumers and businesses.
RG&E began to see potential weaknesses in its power system several years ago and chose to begin the process to upgrade it through the PSC. Ultimately, RG&E plans to add a new substation, transmission lines and tap into the a new source of the New York Power Authoritys transmission lines.
It applied for the change in 2011 and had hoped to begin construction in 2013, but that effort was hampered by a dispute over the location of a planned substation in Chili. Over the summer, 13WHAM News was first to report that a local family was fighting RG&Es effort to put the substation in their farm. The PSC later said that RG&E would need to consider new sites with less of an impact on stakeholders.
The PSC has asked for an analysis of alternative sites that were not among the original eight considered by RG&E, according to a company spokesperson. RG&E is expected to submit its analysis to the PSC by January 15th.
Customers of the utility will see higher rates, but a company spokesman said the costs will be minimal as the project will be paid for over the course of 40 years and among its 368,000 customers.