Project Q&A

    • MEPCO stands for Maine Electric Power Company, Inc. It is a corporation jointly owned by Central Maine Power Company and Emera Maine (formerly Bangor Hydro-Electric Company) that enables the two organizations to work together on transmission projects. MEPCO owns an existing transmission line that extends from the New Brunswick Border to Wiscasset, Maine and is now working on this new project from Chester to Pittsfield.
    • Detailed studies of the electric system show that the region needs a new transmission line from the Keene Road substation in Chester, Maine to a new substation in Pittsfield. We are working collaboratively with communities and landowners in this area to find the best path and to acquire the necessary easements for this new line. We anticipate that the route will pass through Chester, Mattamiscontis Township, Howland, Orneville Township, Lagrange, Atkinson, Charleston, Exeter, Corinna, Corinth, Palmyra, St. Albans and Pittsfield.
    • Maine’s transmission lines are essential energy infrastructure that move bulk power across the region. The new line is needed to relieve congestion, reduce line losses, boost reliability and accommodate new generation from renewable resources.
    • Landowners along a transmission route are our neighbors and most important stakeholders. Our process is a collaborative one and involves working together with landowners and local town officials to avoid sensitive areas, minimize landowner and environmental impacts, and select a route that works for all parties.
    • MEPCO is committed to paying fair market value to landowners. The first step in the process, once a particular route has been selected, is to purchase an option for an easement (a permanent right) or for the land. The option is an agreement through which the landowner agrees to sell at an agreed-upon price for a stated period of time (usually two years). If MEPCO decides to complete the purchase, or exercise the option, the option payment is applied to the total purchase price. If the option is not exercised, then landowner keeps the option payment. MEPCO covers the cost of most surveying, title work and legal documentation.
    • Yes. Transmission projects go through a very thorough public review during the permitting process. Many factors are considered including resource protection, wetlands and wildlife habitat, cultural sensitivities, community and visual impacts and proximity to homes.
    • MEPCO’s new line from Chester to Pittsfield is needed for a number of reasons, including to relieve congestion, reduce line losses and boost reliability. Whether or not MREI is built to deliver clean energy to New England, the Chester to Pittsfield link will be needed in the next 5-7 years.
    • MEPCO has been meeting with landowners and towns along the proposed route. Once the line is finalized (2017), the permitting process will take place, followed by construction. The line will be operational by 2020.
    • If and when MREI is built to deliver clean energy to southern New England, utilities in those states will pay the full development cost – including much of the cost of the MEPCO line from Chester to Pittsfield. If the Chester to Pittsfield link is developed without MREI to meet system reliability needs, the costs would be shared across New England, as is the case with other regional transmission lines, and Maine customers would pay only a small percentage of the cost.
    • Transmission lines carry bulk electricity from where it is generated to where it is needed. From there, distribution lines carry electricity to where it is used. The interlocking system of high voltage power lines, typically 115,000 volts (115kV) or higher, is commonly referred to as the bulk power system or grid. The bulk power system is akin to the Interstate Highway System and major state highways, providing a high capacity and high speed path to move electricity across long distances.
    • Yes. A project like this generates annual tax revenue for host communities, hundreds of construction jobs and direct spending with local suppliers and vendors, including construction subcontractors, local convenience stores, restaurants and service providers. An economic analysis by Dr. Charles Colgan and the University of Southern Maine concluded an annual average of 752 jobs would be supported by the MEPCO line in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset counties during the five-year planning and construction period.
    • Although the design has not been finalized, the new MEPCO line is expected to include H-frame wooden poles, which are 75’ in height. The span between the poles is expected to be anywhere from 800-900’ for a 345 kV line. While the utility corridor is expected to be 225’ wide, the actual cleared corridor will be approximately 170’ wide.
    • Yes. We talk to landowners early on in the process so together we can identify sensitive resources and other considerations that are important to an individual landowner.
    • There is an information line (see below) you can call with questions and your call will be returned promptly. www.mepcoline.com also provides current information and will be updated throughout the process.
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