Westbrook is one of 89 Maine towns and cities located along the route for the Maine Power Reliability Program, a proposed $2 billion program spearheaded by Central Maine Power to upgrade electric transmission systems throughout the state.
According to an article in yesterday's PPH, CMP argues such an upgrade is needed to prevent future blackouts. CMP also argues the large investments ($1.4 billion for a 345,000-volt transmission line going from Orrington to Newington, NH, and $625 million for a 345,000-volt transmission line stretching from Central Maine to northern Aroostook County) and the potential construction jobs the project could generate (8,000) are also positive aspects of the project.
On the other hand, the article warns the project will impact thousands of abutters (the article says 4,500 abutters in "either the southern or northern sections of the project" will be affected), will require CMP to buy (or, as the article notes, possibly take via eminent domain) 550 parcels of land along the southern leg, and will increase electric bills (CMP could not provide details regarding this effect). The article also states that ratepayers would pay for 8 percent of the project.
A video outlining CMP's arguments in favor of the project can be seen here.
- John C.L. Morgan