The Maine Public Utilities Commission Friday approved Central Maine Power Co.'s $1.4 billion power grid upgrade project to build or rehabilitate 350 miles of transmission lines across the state.
After nearly two years of review, the PUC unanimously approved the settlement agreement reached earlier this month by CMP and other parties involved in the case, according to a press release. The settlement retained much of CMP's original $1.5 billion proposal, such as building a new 345-kilovolt transmission line from Orrington to Eliot, but also includes a pilot plan with Portland-based GridSolar to explore non-transmission alternatives in the midcoast and Portland area, and funnels $17 million to the Efficiency Maine Trust. Maine ratepayers will pay 8% of the cost, while the rest will be shared by other ratepayers in the New England region, according to the release. CMP President Sara Burns told Maine Public Broadcasting Network the project is expected to add 60 cents a year to the typical homeowners' power bill by the year 2015. The project is expected to create up to 2,100 new jobs and $61 million in wages.
CMP spokesman John Carroll told the paper the utility hopes to get final permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and start construction in June.
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