Central Maine Power Company, 83 Edison Drive, Augusta, ME 04336 (207) 622-NEWS
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Release: Immediate - An Energy East Company
CMP grid improvement proposal gains ground
AUGUSTA, ME – Oct. 22, 2009 – Central Maine Power Company (CMP) reports continued progress on the regional, state and local review of the Maine Power Reliability Program, CMP’s comprehensive plan to upgrade the company’s electric grid. Recent progress includes:
A draft decision from the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-New England) would regionalize the costs for the $1.5 billion project. This means that Maine utility customers will pay only about eight percent of the cost. The balance of the cost will be shared among the majority of New England utility customers. Taking into account the many benefits of the project, including savings from gains in system efficiency, it will add an average of about one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour to Maine consumers’ utility bills over the next fifteen years. ISO-New England is expected to issue a final decision by the end of the year.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection recently completed the last of three scheduled public meetings as part of its review process. CMP notes that supporters of the project were well represented at all three of the meetings.
The company has also received local land use approvals in four towns in recent months. Planning boards in Benton, Dixmont, Morrill and Rumford issued land use approvals since the beginning of August. The company now has local approval from 21 of the 80 towns along the path of the Maine Power Reliability Project.
“We’re updating a 40-year-old system to keep it reliable,” said Sara Burns, CMP president. “We’re pleased to see the project gaining momentum, especially with the draft decision by ISO-New England. It’s a strong affirmation that this is the right investment for Maine and New England.”
CMP’s Maine Power Reliability Program includes the construction of five new 345-kilovolt substations and related facilities linked by approximately 500 miles of new or rebuilt transmission lines in the company’s existing rights of way. The lines run through 80 cities and towns from Eliot to Orrington, Maine.
CMP introduced the plan after a comprehensive study of the region’s electricity grid found that weaknesses in the existing system could create significant risks to reliability without significant changes in demand patterns, transmission capacity, or new supply. Along with transmission investments, CMP’s proposal includes recommendations to encourage alternatives to transmission, such as new generation, or programs to manage the growth in peak electricity demand.
“While these investments are first and foremost to ensure reliability, the project will also add critical capacity in our system for the state’s growing renewable electricity industry,” Burns said. “Other benefits include an increase of nearly $25 million in new property tax revenues that will be paid largely by out-of-state utility customers. The construction alone will create about 3,300 jobs during the peak years of construction and inject an annual average of $61 million in wages and salary income into the Maine economy.”
CMP will also need approval of the project from the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
About CMP: Central Maine Power, a subsidiary of Energy East Corporation, operates more than 25,000 miles of power lines and other facilities that deliver electricity to 80 percent of Maine’s population. Web site: www.cmpco.com.
About Energy East: Energy East Corporation is a respected, super-regional energy services and delivery company serving about 3 million customers throughout upstate New York and New England. By providing outstanding customer service and meeting customers’ energy requirements in an environmentally responsible manner, Energy East will continue to be a valuable asset to the communities we serve. The company has since September 2008 been part of the Spain-based Iberdrola Group, the world's fifth largest utility and number one in wind power.
— CMP —