PITTSFIELD, Maine — Town councilors will review an ordinance change Tuesday, both in a committee meeting, then at a regular council meeting, that would allow for a major expansion of Central Maine Power lines through the community.
Maine Public Service and Central Maine Power are considering the feasibility of developing the Maine Power Connection, a transmission project designed to link the MPS service area directly to Maine’s electric grid.
MPS, with some 36,000 customers in northern Maine, is connected to Maine only indirectly. Its transmission lines cross into New Brunswick, then tie into a grid that links Maine and New Brunswick.
The change in Pittsfield would add “essential services” as a principal use in Districts R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4, C-1, C-2, C-3 and C-4.
Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said the project is set for a Feb. 9 hearing before the town’s planning board but must be reviewed by the council’s ordinance committee.
The committee will meet at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, and CMP officials are expected to provide details and information. That meeting will be followed by a regular council meeting at 7:30 p.m. If the committee recommends the ordinance change, it will be voted on by the full council.
The ordinance change is necessary, Ruth said, because part of CMP’s $400 million line extension project will wind through Pittsfield, heading in a diagonal line from the Detroit substation on Route 100, to north of the Interstate 95-Hartland Avenue area, then south to an area near Snakeroot Road. Code Enforcement Officer Steve Seekins said the new line will follow the existing line but will expand north and west.
Homes and properties have already been purchased by CMP to make way for the new transmission lines.
When the project was announced by CMP and MPS last July, officials explained that the 345-kilovolt transmission line would connect central Maine to northern Aroostook County.
This connection will provide MPS customers with access to competitive electric power markets and will support the development of proposed wind generation projects in Aroostook County.
MPS does not yet have a connection to the New England grid or adequate capacity to handle burgeoning requests for transmission connections from wind developers. Wind projects already proposed for Aroostook County total more than $1.6 billion.
Company officials also said the Maine Power Connection is designed to improve the system’s reliability for New England.
In other business Tuesday night, the council will set two public hearings, one on tax-anticipated borrowing and the other to execute a quitclaim deed.
The council will also fill a number of vacancies on various boards.