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Friday, January 19 Local

FirstLight to lower Candlewood Lake water levels again

In an effort to alleviate the strain placed on the power grid by the recent cold snap, FirstLight Power and Resources will again lower the levels at Candlewood Lake.

The move to lower the water level by about two feet comes following a request this week from ISO New England, which is the power grid FirstLight feeds into and which serves Connecticut.

“By drawing Candlewood Lake down further we can generate enough clean energy to power 25,000 homes throughout the duration of this current cold snap and help ISO-NE maintain reliability in Connecticut,” said FirstLight spokesman Len Greene.

Greene expects the lake to hit the target depth around Sunday night. The Rocky River plant in New Milford will then start pumping operations next week after the cold snap ends. Temperatures are expected to have highs in the teens through the weekend, with a high around freezing temperatures with snow expected Monday.

During this time, the lake could be dangerous and FirstLight is advising residents to be careful when going out onto the lake.

“Ice shelves, ice drifts, and other hazards regularly occur and could present a life threatening situation, so proceed with extreme caution when venturing out onto the lake,” according to a press release from FirstLight.

The decision to lower Candlwood Lake was made by the Technical Drawdown Committee, which has representatives from FirstLight, the Candlewood Lake Authority, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

FirstLight lowers the lake levels each winter, varying from several feet for a shallow drawdown to about 10 feet for a deep drawdown. A shallow drawdown was scheduled for this winter and so FirstLight had a few feet to use to generate more power, Greene said.

“Given the fact that much of the New England power grid is currently relying on expensive fossil fuel generation, which is currently driving huge costs to ratepayers, we believe that it would be in the best interests of Connecticut consumers to access the unused clean energy stored in Candlewood Lake,” Greene said.

Katrina Koerting|Reporter

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