Portland, Maine, September 28, 2010 – Iberdrola USA and Central Maine Power Co. launched two projects with investments totaling more than $1.5 billion that will have a major impact on Maine’s electricity delivery system as well as bring wider benefits to New England as a whole.
Iberdrola Group Chairman Ignacio Galan, and Maine Governor John E. Baldacci marked the start of the $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Program, a project that will support the development of new renewable energy resources and help ensure long-term reliability for customers by increasing the capacity and efficiency of the New England’s transmission grid.
The MPRP, which will be completed in 2015, will support up to 2,000 jobs annually during the five-year construction phase, with a peak of over 3,000, and contribute significantly to the Maine economy. The project is the largest energy infrastructure project in the state’s history, and the first upgrade of its electricity grid in 40 years.
The Iberdrola Chairman and Governor Baldacci also installed the first of 620,000 advanced electricity meters that will be installed for CMP customers as part of a new smart grid program to be developed over the next two years.
This $166 million project, covered in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, will enable CMP customers to access pricing and usage information through a web portal so they can better manage energy use and cost.
It will provide the company with the best possible information on outages to help speed the company’s response. Further, it will mean operational efficiencies and cost reductions related to billing, account opening and closings, and credit and collections as well as instantaneous meter reading.
The MPRP includes the construction of five new 345-kilovolt substations and related facilities linked by about 450 miles of new or rebuilt transmission lines. The southern end of the line ties into the New England grid near the New Hampshire border.
It passes through 75 cities and towns, and the northern end interconnects with transmission lines from Canada in the central Maine town of Orrington. CMP introduced the plan after a comprehensive study of the region’s electricity grid determined the need for an upgrade to guarantee the reliability of CMP’s system and surrounding areas for years to come.
The advanced meters will provide customers with continuous, real-time information on electrical usage and enable suppliers to offer consumers new options for variable pricing or time-of-use rates. Studies have shown that consumers will use electricity more efficiently when they have real-time information about usage and price. The new meters will be will also help the company reduce costs, enhance system planning, and pinpoint problems more quickly during outages.