Franklin Countys First News

Commissioners to contact CMP as state senator expresses concern with transmission line project

FARMINGTON - County commissioners will draft a letter to Central Maine Power after the state senator representing Franklin County expressed concerns with how the project would benefit local communities.

Commissioners previously submitted a letter in support of the project, which would run a 145-mile transmission line from the Canadian border in western Somerset County down to a new AC/DC converter station in Lewiston. The project would deliver 1,200 megawatts of power generated by a Canadian hydroelectric company, Hydro-Québec, to Massachusetts. In Franklin County, roughly nine miles of line would be located in Farmington, seven miles in Jay and roughly four miles scattered through other communities.

State Sen. Tom Saviello (R - Wilton) has approached local selectboards and, on Tuesday, the commissioners to outline his concerns with the project, which he says will have a local impact without significant benefit to the region.

Saviello said that he became concerned after reviewing the bid proposals submitted by CMP and other companies in response to Massachusetts' request for proposals. Eversource's Northern Pass proposal in New Hampshire, Saviello said, involved a $200 million in funds earmarked for economic development, conservation and clean energy, among other benefits.

"In the state of Maine proposal, crickets, nothing," Saviello said, referring to economic development support. "I want the environment protected and I just want us treated right."

Saviello said that while the project would make use of existing transmission lines in Franklin County - the 53 miles of new line would be closer to the Canadian border - it would involve widening the corridor from 150 feet to 300 feet, installing 170-foot towers to accommodate the new lines.

Commissioners agreed to write a letter to CMP, inviting them to attend a meeting and discuss the issue.

Also on Tuesday, Saviello approached the Wilton Selectboard with similar concerns, having previously appeared before the Farmington board.

Wednesday, CMP did announce the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding for "investment in western Maine conservation and nature-based tourism infrastructure," relating to CMP's plan to have a portion of the transmission line to cross the Kennebec River in Somerset County. Details of the agreement have not been made public year, although CMP says it involves a "substantial local fund," the development of a visitor center, the transfer of lands along the Dead River to the nonprofit Western Mountains and Rivers Corporation.

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18 Responses »

  1. The Future of the Hydro-Quebec and and CMP Transmissions Line is in our hands, any and all concerned about the natural beauty of Western Me. and Somerset County should be up in arms about a project out of Massachusetts called the "Northern Pass" Electricity coming from these transmissions lines goes to citizens of Massachusetts. The project was put before New Hampshire and defeated by a 7 to 0 vote. This is a lose,lose for Maine.
    What kind of state are we going to leave our grandchildren and great grandchildren? If out of state projects can come into Maine and take a few miles here, a mountain and stream there. The children will never know the true natural beauty most everyone has had the pleasure of knowing that it will always be there.
    For more information re:"Hydro-Quebec Project" go to the following site with questions and concerns.
    Natural Resources Council of Maine

  2. Thank you, Tom Saviello, for being on top of this.

  3. Lots of interest and objection here.... but.. no concern about stripping and blowing to heck the mountain tops and installing pinwheels that can be seen from far away... A bit strange I say... I suggest that is probably because a different group of people making $$$$'s

  4. I'm very curious- if NH has refused, how are the power lines going to get from Maine to MA? There isn't any direct connection between the two...
    Overall, no, I do not think we need to widen our electric corridors, increase tower sizes and cut forests so that Quebec and Massachusetts can benefit. No thanks.

  5. Thank you Tom for raising this issue. Maine is being asked to basically give away another natural resource to benefit outside business. We already have agreed to deplete our fresh water reservoirs to Nestle. And who profits? And what is the long term effect?

  6. I agree the windmills are a terrible eyesore, but are you suggesting we do nothing to stop another one destroying the beauty of our vistas? Come on people, let's fight this one at least! I personally am disgusted every time I drive out of my driveway and am assaulted by the duel view of windmills and the ugly cellphone towers placed on local hills.

    I and others tried to fight the cellphone tower on our hill, but the FCC regulations are in favor of big business. I suppose at least we do get some benefit from the service. This project, not only ruins the views, but doesn't even allow us the benefit of cheaper electricity. It's much the same as the blasted windmill projects. They are both about putting $$$$ into greedy corporations pockets at the cost of our way of life. Let's fight them tooth and nail!

  7. Tom,

    Was unaware you became part of the uninformed eco left.

    Tom is going against our best interest folks. Bringing a low cost producer onto the ISO New England grid (it doesn't matter that it is going to MA) either pushes out a high cost producer (lowering prices), or meets new demand, thus keeping prices where they are versus not having this supply source at all. ECON 101, which I understand the entire legislature failed.

    Kick us back to the stone age if widening an existing right of way and a small new one are a valid reason to deny this project.

  8. Uninformed eco left is not necessary Please disagree politely
    We have forgotten how, and the newspapers allow this becasue it sells advertising.It does not do the community any good.
    Disagree with facts or opinions .It might change some opinions The Daily Bulldog should do better.

  9. Bryan McNaney How much money is going in YOUR pocket from this??? We her in Farmington will see 0. Tell me Bryan how much will it help me out?? Thanks for you time, hope it doesn't cost me much.
    Bryan tell me how this will effect your view from you home in Ocean City Maryland are they part of the ISO?
    We all live her YOU don't. Get over it... We don't want you junk in our back yards.

  10. Another attempt to fleece Maine folks by our "neighbors" to the south. This deal is on par with blowing the tops off our pristine mountains to line the pockets of a few.

  11. @Mr. Tom Saviello. Would this be a good opportunity to have a bulk natural gas service line run to Maine? We could leverage this project to force Mass to allow the gas line to be permitted to run through their state. Ultimately this could have a positive impact on the industrial business sector of Maine. This would a large step in helping to midigate the competitive disadvantage Maine business face by lowering utility costs. Maine business often face high energy prices (especially during the winter) due to high natural gas prices. These high prices are largely driven by a lack of installed supply capacity in Maine. The lack of capacity forces business to burn alternate fuels which are less efficient and much more expensive. Business also have to maintain systems that allow them to burn alternate fules. That also carries an associated cost. I am very familiar with how the electrical pricing is set and the disadvantages we face by being in the ISO New England network. When compared to Southern States the lack of vision Maine’s leadership has shown especially in the 90’s and 2000’s is very clear. Creating a cost effective environment for our industrial sector would allow us (the younger generations) to stay in Maine and enjoy the lifestyle that is unique to Maine. Manufacturing jobs = $$$$ and long-term growth.

  12. We, as a pass thru State, MAY receive "investment in western Maine conservation and nature-based tourism infrastructure" plus a "substantial local fund", the development of a visitor center, the transfer of lands along the Dead River to the nonprofit Western Mountains and Rivers Corporation.
    Am I supposed to be impressed?? I don't really care!! Why not charge Massachusetts for every kilowatt of electricity that passes thru our State of Maine and use that to lower each and everyone's CMP bill?
    I choose to live here; but, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why I have to support another state, or the ISO New England network.
    Placing money into any localized or general fund does not support the entire state or everyone's cost of living here.

  13. Thanks to term limits we won't have to worry about senator Saviello helping stop something like this again as a state senator

  14. Reading the comments I see why we are a republic not a democracy. Smart men those founding fathers.

    Folks, first of all it's not the Northern Pass, that was a proposal in New Hampshire that was cancelled. This project is the "New England Clean Energy Connect" and this is what is being proposed to benefit Maine.

    "In Maine, NECEC will create an average of 1,700 jobs annually over the six year permitting and construction phase. NECEC will contribute to the Maine economy, increasing the state’s GDP by $564 million. The Maine communities hosting the project will experience over $18 million in increased property tax revenues annually."

    As a long time Franklin County taxpayer (Maryland?, Really?), I look forward to new facilities being added to the tax rolls. Hey, if you wanna pay more taxes, go ahead and object. You can lead a blind horse to water.....

    This is the "Cost" to our community. They already own all the land. God forbid we allow them to utilize it.

    "Approximately 73% of the 147-mile transmission line will be built within CMP’s existing transmission corridor. The remainder of the line will be built in an undeveloped corridor owned by CMP through working forestland in western Somerset and Franklin counties."

    I cannot possibly educate in this small space the dynamics of the electricity marketplace; but just please understand that there are three primary components of the market that all add up to your bill.
    1. Wholesale providers (NextEra, ReEnergy, Rumford Power, etc) that we don't deal with
    2. Transmission & Distribution providers (CMP, Bangor Hydro), they bill us for all the pieces
    3. Retail Providers (Electricity Maine, FirstPoint, ENGIE, Standard Offer is really a 3rd party provider behind the scenes)

    Also understand that our market is not geographically defined by the state of Maine. When a wholesale provider offers electricity to the market there is a clearing process that balances the needs across the entire ISO-New England grid (which is everything east and north of New York State) with the lowest cost providers. Electrons flow freely across state borders and what happens in MASS does affect what we pay in Maine. I encourage those who really care to learn the facts to visit and see how they carry out their critical part of the process.

    I've known Mr. Saviello a long time and hold him in high esteem. This one he has wrong. There are tangible benefits to both Franklin County and the State of Maine. He should not be jumping on the anti development band wagon, rather he should be using his position to educate and move the uninformed in the right direction.

  15. Here is an opportunity to fill the gap of needed energy Gov. LePage has always said is number one in restricting business expansion in Maine. So, why is the State letting this in without demanding a portion of that energy? $60 million a year profit for CMP? At least get a yearly percentage of that. Come on government something for Maine here don't just give this away.
    On another note, it is interesting that it is okay for the Senator to lead the charge to allow foreign corporations into the pristine areas of Maine to do acid-ore mining but then to oppose this business proposal which has much less environmental impact and for a Maine company (sort of). You think that this transmission line is bad for the environment....acid-ore mining is far, far worse. I recall many many people at the public hearings who spoke about acid-ore mining before the Environmental Committee, crying and pleading for the State to not allow this mining into our most remote and pristine areas which at the time revolved mostly around Bald Mtn in Aroostook County. Before the ink was even dry on the so-called strict mining rule that was passed... a Canadian mining company was buying up Pickett Mtn in Patten (6800+ acres) and has since proceeded with preliminary mining. A perplexing contradiction.

  16. Grandpa does this mean our electricity bill will go down ?

    No dear, but rates should go down in Massachusetts ?

    Can we go visit the new 'Visitor's Center Grandpa ?
    We can dear...if there is any thing to visit after their done.

    Is Maine getting like a swamp in Washington Grandpa ?
    (No answer from Grandpa)

  17. Bryan McNaney, excellent,logical, clearly stated explanation of why this project makes sense for Maine. Senator Saviello has been given misinformation and would be wise to converse with you and understand what the electric industry is all about. Franklin County could surely use this shot in the arm.

  18. The same guy that argues for things like mining and wind farms. Especially when those projects are not where he lives, even when they are in the same state, but that is none of my business.