Residents protest United Illuminating plans for monopoles installation in Fairfield

There was a big turn out Sunday afternoon as communities protested United Illuminating’s proposed plan for monopoles to be installed in Fairfield.
Multiple Southport and Fairfield residents protested UI’s proposal in front of Pequot Library in Southport.
UI’s plans include replacing current transmission lines with new ones and removing lines that are no longer needed. For this to work, UI workers would have to start construction directly above businesses and homes – as the current lines are overhead.
For local business owners, this would mean closing or relocating stores while UI workers attempt to reach and replace the current lines.
A handful of frustrated residents created the Sasco Creek Environment Trust, a grassroots organization made to oppose new transmission lines. They were also able to form a petition and get more than 500 signatures from local citizens opposing the plans.
UI spokesperson Sarah Wall Fliotsos says the proposed plan is part of a statewide program to upgrade transmission.
"Transmission upgrades like this one are imperative if we are to meet growing demand," says Fliotsos.
For many who showed up, it's about conserving what their community means to them and protecting the small businesses and landmarks that make up the place they live in.
"Businesses that we rely on like Dairy Queen, Rawley’s and the hardware store that's local. It's the only hardware store that's not a big box shop,” says David Hamm, of Southport.
That's why community members are asking for an alternative plan to bury the lines instead, as well as keeping local businesses as they are.
"It's a community that we have worked so hard to preserve,” says Parker. “That in one fell swoop will be forever altered.”
The protest was organized to inform more residents and encourage them to continue to band together. UI says they are willing to work with them.
"Committed to work with town leadership and adhering to the processes put forth by the Connecticut Siting Council,” says Fliotsos.
The next siting council hearing is Thursday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. through Zoom.