The other day, “06880” listed our town’s top 10 taxpayers.
At the top of the list — by a wide margin — was Connecticut Light & Power (now called Eversource).
The utility’s personal property assessment is $140,509,070. That’s nearly double the #2 taxpayer, 60 Nyala Farms Road LLC (the office complex owner near I-95 Exit 18 owns real estate assessed at $83,338,970).
So what exactly does Eversource own?
A longtime Westport resident and retired utility director explains that it all starts with substations.
The Sherwood substation, for example, sits on about 1.5 acres of land, bought in 2004. There’s also a transmission line that runs under state (Route 1) or town roads (Imperial Avenue from the old State Cleaners to the Westport Woman’s Club overflow parking lot, then under the Saugatuck River to the Assumption Church parking lot, under Lincoln Street and back to the Post Road).
So Eversource either had rights to locate within state and town roadways as a public utility, or when splice vaults had to locate off the roadway, they bought easement rights or “ownership” of the eased area on private property (for example, Assumption Church’s parking lot, the parking lot of the former Saab dealership on Post Road West, the parking lot between Balducci’s and Ulta, and Vautrin Auto’s parking lot).
Those easements were bought for an average of $250,000 each from the property owners.
Other substations include the one behind Coffee An’, built in the 1930’s; Compo Road South, between I-95 and the Metro-North train tracks — plus all overhead and underground wires, poles, transformer vaults, etc.
Big ticket items also include the existing double 115 kV overhead transmission lines on either side of the railroad right-of-way, from Fairfield to Norwalk.
Eversource has been taxpayer #1, ever since the transmission underground project went into service around 2008. They’ll be way ahead of Nyala for years to come.