AUGUSTA, Maine — Central Maine Power Co. has started a $33 million construction project that aims strengthen its system in Somerset County.
On Monday, CMP placed the first of 465 poles for the Somerset County Reinforcement Project. It involves building a new 39-mile, 115-kilovolt transmission line from Moscow to Benton.
“We’ve had some lines that have been serving that area well for many decades, but as demands grow, we need to add more infrastructure. That’s what we’re doing here,” CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
The cost of the project will be shared by utility customers throughout New England. CMP customers will be paying about 7 percent of the cost.
“This project is yet another example of the company’s investments for a stronger, smarter grid in Maine,” said CMP President Sara Burns. “Our work to strengthen the grid in Somerset County is part of more than $500 million in system investments CMP has planned for 2011 alone.”
The single wood poles will be spaced about 450 feet apart and run parallel to an existing line in an established corridor. Each pole will average 70-80 feet in height, according to a CMP press release.
Rice said workers have been clearing parts of the corridor, which CMP has owned for decades.
The existing lines have served the area just fine, Rice said, but it’s time to make sure they’re ready for growth in demand.
“We want to do it before there are any problems in the area,” Rice said. “It’s a proactive way to make sure the system is ready for extra load over the next several decades.”
Rice said the project should be completed in the spring.
Work on the Wyman Hydro Substation is expected to begin later this fall, CMP said.