Eversource, the energy company formerly known as Connecticut Light and Power, will host an open house at Greenwich Town Hall on Tuesday to present plans for a new power substation on Railroad Avenue.
“Building a new substation is not something we do frequently,” Eversource spokesman Frank Poirot said. “It happens when customer demand for electricity continues to grow, and we’ve been marking that trend in Greenwich in particular for years now.”
The current bulk substation, in Cos Cob, was built in 1964, when there was less demand for energy in American’s daily lives. Eversource anticipates the need will exceed its capacity at some point in 2017, Poirot said this week.
The energy company filed a municipal consultation earlier this month, outlining a multiyear plan to bring a new substation into town at 290 Railroad Ave., a building the company has owned since the 1970s. That location is home to Pet Pantry, a pet store, which recently bought the old Baang property on East Putnam Avenue for $2.7 million.
The first step of that process is the open house, which will be held in the Town Hall Meeting Room from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, where representatives from Eversource will explain plans for the project and invite questions from the public.
Poirot said if it’s approved, construction would likely begin as soon as August 2016, kicking off a process he said is estimated to cost $104 million.
The property has been owned by the utility for decades: one of my after-school jobs in high school was working for Jack Cohen, owner of Pet Pantry, and when we moved here from Mason Street in 1971, Jack got, I think, a 30-year-lease in what was already an old building. At the time, Jack told me CL&P didn’t foresee an immediate use for the property – hence the long lease, but was holding on to it for the time they’d need it. That time has come, apparently.
There should be no argument about the need for this new capacity, and the location, surrounded by other commercial buildings and the railroad tracks, with no immediate residences nearby should, in a rational world, raise no objection, but it’s Greenwich, so I foresee a lengthy battle, just because.