The state Public Service Commission voted today to review the plans of Rochester Gas & Electric to build a substation and power lines opposed by the Rochester-area farm owners.
The decision is a victory for the Krenzers, a fourth-generation farming family in Chili, Monroe County. The family has sought to overturn a state ruling in April that gave the power company eminent domain to roughly 80 acres of the family’s 360-acre farm.
“Everyone in the Krenzer family is happy about today’s decision, including our children, who we hope will continue our 100-year tradition of family farming,” said Marie Krenzer, a spokeswoman for the family. “We look forward to working with the Public Service Commission, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Department of Environmental Conservation, RG&E and our community leaders to see that this energy project can go forward in a way that preserves farming for us and our neighbors.”
The Public Service Commission was under pressure to reconsider the case after the Krenzer recently took their protests public. Gannett’s Albany Bureau wrote last month about the family’s plight.
PSC Commissioner Diane Burman said at the commission’s meeting today that she’s pleased the case will be reconsidered, saying, “at the time this commission did not have complete accurate information” when it made its initial ruling.
In a statement, the PSC said the case will now head back to the parties to find ways to minimize the impact of the substation on the family farm. RG&E wants the project so it can increase its supply of electricity to the Rochester area, part of a $254 million upgrade to its system.
“The commission will appoint an administrative law judge to work with the parties in an effort to find a consensus solution while still meeting the electric reliability needs of Rochester residents,” the commission said. “The judge will report back to the commission on the results of the parties’ efforts within 30 days.”
There was no immediate comment from RG&E.
Here’s the video from last month about the Krenzer’s situation: