FARMINGDALE – Central Maine Power Co. representatives proposed Monday to move its proposed 245-kilovolt transmission line 25 feet farther away from homes on Kennebec Drive than originally proposed.
But some residents who abut the Kennebec Heights Country Club property – which the utility purchased in June – want CMP to work harder at exploring the cost of moving the lines even farther away – or better yet, burying them.
Whatever is decided, the timetable for redesigning the corridor to accommodate the fatter power lines will be pushed back to January 2011 at the earliest, CMP officials told residents Monday. That’s because the utility has been working with residents on a better alignment for the project, according to Andrew McMullin, community relations manager of Burns and McDonnell, a Portland public relations firm retained by CMP.
CMP was supposed to start work on the Farmingdale corridor this fall.
Though many residents seemed satisfied with CMP’s proposal at Monday’s hearing, a few wanted to know how much it would cost to move the lines another 100 feet.
CMP spokesman John Carroll said he would bring that request back to the design team, but thought it would be an unlikely solution because of the cost involved in researching the new site and the loss in value of the property that CMP could eventually sell.
“We feel like we made a significant effort,” Carroll said. “You asked and we’ll take (the proposal) back (to CMP decision makers).”
Rep. Sharon Treat, D-Hallowell, requested CMP representatives point residents to information filed with the Public Utilities Commission regarding the cost of burying the lines.
She explained it would be helpful if residents could have an understanding of how CMP arrived at making some of its decisions.
Carroll said he did not believe that the PUC would allow CMP to bury the lines underground because of the cost to ratepayers.
And, he said, if that did happen, then Farmingdale would have to pick up the tab.
Treat demurred. “We don’t know that yet,” she said Monday.
Treat has been granted official intervenor status in proceedings between the Public Utilities Commission and CMP regarding the project’s effect in Farmingdale. As an official intervenor, she will have access to more timely information regarding the proceedings to more effectively advocate for residents, Treat said in a news release.
Residents near the project were surprised this summer to learn CMP had purchased the golf course property, which is surrounded by condominiums and homes along the path of the pending 350-mile transmission line upgrade known as the Maine Power Reliability Project. CMP said it sent out 4,000 notices by registered mail to nearby property owners notifying them of plans for the transmission line upgrade.
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