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John Carroll (CMP) 207-629-1023

Larry Benoit (Bernstein Shur) 207-228-7353



Augusta, ME, July 1, 2008 - Central Maine Power Company (CMP) announced today a plan to invest up to $1.4 billion to keep its bulk power grid reliable and as a part of a broader effort to address economic and environmental concerns of electricity customers statewide.


“Our first responsibility is to keep the transmission grid reliable,” said Sara Burns, president of Central Maine Power. “We’re updating a system built almost four decades ago, because Maine’s needs are so different today. This is a critical investment to make sure we can keep the lights on. As a state, we’re also facing enormous economic and environmental challenges. Our plan is necessary to allow the development of clean, renewable electricity resources in Maine as a step to reducing our dependence on high-priced oil and natural gas.”


The largest part of CMP’s plan, which is called the Maine Power Reliability Program, includes a proposal to build a new, 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Orrington, Maine (15 miles south of Bangor), to Newington, New Hampshire. The line will follow existing transmission corridors through nearly 80 Maine towns, including Detroit, Benton, Windsor, Lewiston, Yarmouth, Gorham, and Eliot. The program includes investments in new substations, upgrades to existing substations, and improvements to the 115-kilovolt (kV) electric system in central Maine.


The Maine Power Reliability Program began in January of 2007 with a study to project the region’s future needs for electricity service. The first phase of the study, which was completed last summer, found that serious problems would emerge as early as 2012 without significant changes in demand patterns, transmission capacity, or new supply. The proposal CMP announced today includes transmission investments and recommendations to encourage alternatives to transmission, such as new generation, or programs to manage the growth in peak electricity demand.


We’ve come forward with an ambitious solution to keep our system reliable that also offers hope for gaining control over runaway electricity prices through Maine’s own clean, renewable energy resources, said Burns. “On its own, the construction will create nearly 6,000 new jobs in Maine, and having a strong, reliable grid will mean brighter prospects for existing business and emerging renewable energy industries.”


The announcement comes on the same day that CMP and Maine Public Service proposed a separate, joint-venture project to build a transmission link between northern Maine and the CMP grid. That project will encourage stiffer competition among electricity suppliers to serve customers of Maine Public Service and improve access to southern Maine and New England markets for prospective wind power developers in Maine’s northern counties.


CMP prepared its plan in conjunction with neighboring utilities in Maine and New Hampshire with oversight by ISO New England, the organization responsible for managing electricity supply and transmission for the New England states.


CMP will file a petition today with the Maine Public Utilities Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN).  The system upgrade will also require approvals and permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, approximately 80 local governments and other agencies. 


146 Capitol Street, Augusta, Maine 04104 | (207) 623-1596 | (207) 626-0200 (FAX) |