National Grid plans Placid outage Friday

LAKE PLACID — There are tentative plans for this village to be without power for up to two hours Friday, Aug. 18 in order to remove osprey nests from the electric line that brings power here.

Though not yet final, National Grid’s plan is to interrupt power for all village municipal electric customers in Lake Placid Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. National Grid’s North Country Manager of Community and Customer Rich Burns said the utilities company expects to finish repair work within the two hours. The utilities company will finalize its plans for Friday on Wednesday, spokeswoman Virginia Limmiatis said.

The repairs are removing and relocating three osprey nests built on the transmission line that services the Tri-Lakes area.

Burns said the nests are located where the line passes through in remote locations between Malone and Saranac Lake. He added that much of the right of way through which the line travels is on an old rail line between Malone and Paul Smiths.

National Grid has received approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to relocate the nests because the nests are currently unoccupied, Burns said. He added that platforms will be built nearby, out of the danger zone of the power line, upon which the nests will be relocated.

“I believe the problem is, if the nests were left there, rather than the line tripping out, it could burn the structure down,” Burns said, “which could cause an extended outage.”

National Grid is planning the work for this early morning time after sunrise in order to reduce impact on Lake Placid electric customers, Limmiatis said.

Though the nests are located north of Saranac Lake, Burns said the village won’t lose power as the utilities company plans to re-feed Saranac Lake’s power supply to keep electricity on for that time period.

“We are doing some switching to allow us to keep Saranac Lake on,” he said.

Burns and new Lake Placid Electric Superintendent Kimball Daby said it’s believed these nests have existed in these locations for some time and were only discovered thanks to National Grid’s increased aerial patrols and inspections on the line in recent weeks and months after two outages left Lake Placid without power for long stretches of time in February and June. Burns added that National Grid doesn’t think there are any more nests located within the danger zone of the power line.

“We patrolled the whole line and this is the sum of what we found,” Burns said. “Of course, wildlife will continue to do what it does.”

The planned outage is the latest development during a summer when National Grid has increased its patrolling and maintenance of the line leading into Lake Placid after two weekend outages gravely affected local businesses and visitors earlier this year, including a 19-hour overnight blackout in February.

A month ago, Burns was on hand with local officials and state representatives, including state Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Essex County Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury), when a group met at the North Elba Town Hall to draft a plan to prevent future outages.

Burns said late last month that trimming of the line for “danger trees” has been going on since June.