National Grid fixes electrical cable under Raquette Lake
By Mike Lynch
The re-opening is a big change from the state’s stance earlier this month, when it said the boat-access site on Raquette Lake would be closed through the 2024 camping season after two incidents in 2021 when people reported feeling a tingling sensation and stray voltage was later detected.
National Grid subsequently determined that stray voltage was likely coming from underwater service cables that had shifted close to the boat dock at Tioga Point, said company spokesman Jared Paventi.
The problem caused the state Department of Environmental Conservation to close the site “out of an abundance of caution.”
Paventi told the Explorer in early May that work was expected to stop the stray voltage from occurring and that a multi-year project would likely be necessary as a follow up.
But now the state, town of Long Lake and National Grid are saying the power company has addressed the problem in mid-May when its crews replaced 22,000 feet of cable in and out of the water.
“There was a change in tactics once we got to work,” Paventi said. “Our team found a solution that addressed the issue without further disrupting the lake or private property along its shores. Once we implemented and tested the solution, we determined that the goal of eliminating stray voltage had been achieved and that (a) larger project was no longer necessary.”
He said extensive testing determined the stray voltage is now “below the safety threshold.”
Long Lake Supervisor Clay Arsenault applauded DEC and National Grid.
“I’m just tickled with how it went,” he said. “They were both awesome. Both agencies were amazing to work with.”
He said he found out about the issue a month ago and initially expressed serious concern about the timeline in a strongly worded letter to National Grid. After that, things changed.
“It went from National Grid and DEC telling me it was going to be a three-year fix, and the campground was going to be closed, to these weekly meetings and everyone staying in tune with each other and getting done in three weeks,” he said.
Paventi declined to get into the specifics about the work on the cables, other than to say, “National Grid performs inspection and maintenance of its systems as mandated by regulations, and follows established operating procedures for stray voltage complaints.”
As for the campers with reservations, DEC contractor Reserve America reached out to them on May 17, giving them until Monday to restore their plans.
As of May 24, all unreserved campsites are available for booking to the general public.
Tioga Point state campground is located on the eastern side of Raquette Lake. It contains 15 lean-tos and 10 tent sites, but doesn’t have potable water.
Paventi said the 2021 stray voltage incidents on Raquette Lake have been limited to the state campground. But in 2020, he said “a customer at Indian Point received a shock when changing a well pump on their property. National Grid followed its stray voltage procedure and the incident was subsequently closed.”