Gov. Chris Christie said he hasn’t taken a position on a nearly 10-mile high-voltage transmission line proposed to be built in Monmouth County, though he encouraged people to consider that a balance must be struck to upgrade the reliability of the electrical grid.

Jersey Central Power & Light wants to build the power line from Aberdeen to Red Bank along New Jersey Transit railroad tracks. Thousands of residents have mobilized to oppose the plan, particularly in Middletown, which has the neighborhood that would be closest to the proposed line.

Christie said on ‘Ask the Governor’ that his administration has been “keeping an eye on things” but said projects such as proposed pipelines or the Susquehanna-Roseland power line have been proposed after Superstorm Sandy to make energy in New Jersey more reliable and storm-resistant.

“Then everybody objects to the pipelines or the power lines. ‘I don’t want them.’ Well how do you expect us to get the energy to be more reliable? These projects are about making these power delivery services tougher, stronger, more resistant to storm,” Christie said.

“I understand that people don’t like it in their backyard, but they like the electricity in their house when they turn the switch,” Christie said. “It’s a balance, everybody.”

The next administrative-law judge hearing on the Monmouth County Reliability Project is Wednesday at Brookdale Community College. More than 1,200 people attended the first hearing in January.

The decision will ultimately be rendered by the state Board of Public Utilities.

“I like to have the BPU, the Board of Public Utilities, go through their public hearing process, so I can get a sense of what people think and what the arguments are on both sides. Ultimately this is going to be a decision made by the Board of Public Utilities. Can I have some influence on that? Sure,” Christie said.

“But I have not taken a position on this issue one way or the other yet because I think the information’s still being gathered and being brought in,” he said.

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