CMP: Accrued Maine Power Reliability Program costs through end of November 2013 total about $1.1bn

Central Maine Power (CMP) told Maine regulators on Jan. 2 that the total accrued Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP) costs through the end of November 2013 are about $1.1bn.

Costs incurred by the project to date are:

  • CMP permitting/land/legal/project management – about $252m.
  • CMP engineering and construction – about $869m.
  • Bangor Hydro Electric’s cost for MPRP through November 2013 – about $17m.

Total accrued costs by Northeast Utilities’ (NYSE:NU) Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) for the related Eliot switching station through the end of November 2013 are about $22.9m, CMP told the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC), noting that PSNH’s costs are tracking within the ISO New England-approved transmission cost allocation estimate of $36m with an expected cost at completion of $24.3m. The PSNH costs are not included in the noted total accrued costs.

CMP submitted the quarterly progress report for the project as required by a June 2010 PUC order.

The PUC’s March 2012 order in Phase II of the proceeding approving the certificate of public convenience and necessity for the Eliot substation requires that PSNH also submit a quarterly MPRP progress report for the substation construction. PSNH’s quarterly report has been consolidated within CMP’s quarterly report, the company said.

According to TransmissionHub data, the project is a 440-mile, 345-kV line that begins at Eliot and ends at Orrington, Maine. The project is set to complete in 2015.

In discussing local economic benefits, CMP said in its progress report that based on its latest assessment, the number of people who have worked on the project has exceeded 3,300. The MPRP is currently estimated to increase the Maine Gross Domestic Product by $284m, provide $242m in wages and salaries, and generate $25m in income and sales tax revenue for Maine.

Additionally, the project is estimated to generate $25m per year in new property taxes, $23m of which will be paid by ratepayers outside of Maine.  According to CMP, 8% of the $1.4bn estimated project cost will be paid by Maine ratepayers, with the remaining 92% paid by ratepayers outside of the state.

CMP also noted that it has obtained local permits in all of the municipalities and governing bodies in relation to the proposed project.

A shoreland zoning permit in the town of Woolwich was received last October, the company said, adding that PSNH has secured all approvals required to complete the Eliot switching station construction.

The company further noted that it has entered into 45 agreements needed to build the project, and of those, 17 are for construction, including demolition and clearing; one is for engineering, procurement and construction; 20 are for material supply; and eight are service agreements including program management and insurance.

Additionally, vegetation clearing is 100% complete for the project, with the clearing contractors completing all remaining herbicide and second mechanical treatments last year.

Of the “Lewiston Loop” portion of the project, CMP said work is underway in preparing requests for proposals for awarding contracts for engineering services, material supply and construction.

According to the project website, in Lewiston, Maine, the project will involve building a new 345/115-kV substation, 115-kV and 345-kV transmission lines and the rebuilding of 34.5-kV and 115-kV lines.

“The Northern Loop T-Line contractor, MYR, continued work in the fourth quarter on Sections 257 and 266 with anticipated completion during the first half of 2014,” the company said in its progress report. “Significant progress was made on Section 254 between Orrington and Windsor. To date MYR is approximately 77% complete with their scope of work.”

CMP also said that the Central Loop T-Line contractor, Irby, has completed about 82% of its scope of work, noting that Irby completed the rebuild of Section 89 into the Livermore Falls substation and continues work on Sections 243A and 3025.

The Southern Loop T-Line contractor, Hawkeye, completed construction of Section 3021, with energization planned for 1Q14, CMP added.

Last June, CMP said on its website that in the town of Monmouth, Maine, Irby Construction employees set the 1,500th structure in the project’s “Central Loop,” one of the largest construction areas of the project. Structure 249 is a part of Section 3025, a 345-kV line connecting the new and energized Larrabee Road substation in Lewiston with the new 345-kV substation under construction in Windsor, Maine, the company said at the time.

“Traversing nine communities, two counties and crossing the Kennebec River in central Maine, Section 3025 is one of the most visible portions of CMP’s effort to build a stronger, smarter grid for Maine through the MPRP,” CMP said.

Also last June, CMP said on its website that Hawkeye employees set the 500th structure in the “Southern Loop/Southern Connector” portion of the project in the city of Saco in York County, Maine. Structure 77 is a portion of the new Section 3021, a new 345-kV line that interconnects the South Gorham substation in Gorham, Maine, with the Maguire Road substation in Kennebunk, Maine.

In the greenfield substations, the company said in its progress report, line sections 3020, 3038 and 3039 have been energized into the Raven Farms substation and all major construction activities have been completed at the Coopers Mills Road substation. Crews continued with construction closeout activities, the company added.

In the remote end substations, grounding upgrades and relay replacements continue at several remote end sites.

Construction activities at the Eliot switching station site on Worster Road in Eliot, Maine, are complete, CMP added, noting that the station was energized and put in service on Oct. 22, 2013.

“PSNH will return to the Eliot SS to energize CMP’s new 345-kV line from Maguire Road to Eliot (Section 3022) after CMP completes the construction,” CMP said, adding that it has informed PSNH that Section 3022 will be energized in June.

In discussing the real estate status, CMP said that the MPRP real estate team has acquired 802 of 831 program parcels required for the substations and the transmission line corridors.

CMP, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, said it will provide its next project status report on April 1.

Iberdrola USA is a subsidiary of Iberdrola S.A. Bangor Hydro Electric is wholly owned by Emera.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com.