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October 26, 2018 | last updated October 26, 2018 2:16 pm

PUC cancels next week's hearings over CMP's transmission project

Courtesy / CMP
Courtesy / CMP
Map showing Central Maine Power's New England Clean Energy Connect transmission proposal to connect Hydro-Quebec power to the New England power grid.

The three-member Maine Public Utilities Commission issued a procedural order today granting an intervenor's request that several hearings scheduled next week for Central Maine Power's $950 milion New England Clean Energy Connect project be rescheduled, pending CMP's submission of all documents requested in the "discovery process."

The motion to suspend the hearings on Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1 was made by NextEra Energy Resources LLC. Other parties supported the delay, including Natural Resources Council of Maine; RENEW Northeast and the Maine Renewable Energy Association; ReEnergy Biomass Operations; town of Caratunk; and state Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton.

The Industrial Energy Group sided with CMP in opposing the motion.

In granting NextEra's motion to suspend next week's hearings, the PUC stated its decision to delay them "will ultimately result in a more orderly and efficient proceeding."

"CMP's proposal is essentially that the scheduled hearings be used as a vehicle for discovery on recently submitted documents and that one additional day of hearings be scheduled in November," the PUC stated in its procedural order. "This proposal will likely lead to further delays as additional process will ultimately be required. Therefore, a schedule should be adopted that includes an appropriate process for further discovery on newly submitted documents and consideration of the need for additional testimony if warranted."

The PUC set a conference meeting with the various parties for Oct. 31 to discuss the "additional process and schedule to be adopted in this case."

NRCM issues statement

NRCM, one of the parties supporting a delay in the PUC's hearings on CMP's power line project, issued the following statement Friday afternoon by Sue Ely, its clean energy attorney.

"The PUC's decision to delay hearings on CMP's proposed transmission line is a welcome acknowledgement that this process has been moving too fast for a thorough analysis of this massive, incredibly complex and flawed project," Ely said in a statement sent to Mainebiz. "After months of delay by CMP, at the eleventh hour the company finally submitted tens of thousands of pages of documents that are critical to understanding the climate and rate impacts of the proposed power line. Some of these documents contradict statements in the record that have been made by CMP.

"The documents that are just coming to light raise serious questions about where this power will actually come from and what the real impact on the climate and Maine electricity rates will be. Unfortunately CMP has asked the PUC to keep its communications with Hydro-Quebec confidential. But what we have reviewed so far reinforces our concerns that this project will cause significant harm to Maine's environment while failing to reduce harmful climate pollution at all. Maine people deserve a PUC decision based on facts, and that requires due process not a rush to judgment."

Read more

PUC won't decide CMP's $950M transmission line project until March

CMP nixes overhead crossing of scenic Kennebec Gorge in bid to win over critics

Opponents and advocates make their final arguments on CMP's New England Clean Energy Connect

CMP, Hydro Quebec sign 20-year power contract with Massachusetts utilities

CMP to invest $22M in western Maine conservation, tourism projects

Three companies seek to block CMP's Hydro Quebec transmission project

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PUC procedural order on CMP's transmission project

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