Power plan protest grows

BAR HARBOR — Protests are mounting over Emera Maine’s plans to run new transmission lines down Knox and Crooked roads and to construct a 26,000-square-foot power substation in a residential neighborhood off Woodbury Road.

Two complaints filed this week with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, signed by total of 75 rate-paying households, outline a number of issues raised by neighbors to each project and ask PUC commissioners to either halt or substantially alter the specifications for each.

Each of the planned projects is tied together as part of Emera’s MDI Reliability Project, which seeks to bring upgraded, redundant sources of power to Bar Harbor and the rest of Mount Desert Island.

The 3.4-acre lot for the Woodbury Road substation project was cleared of trees and vegetation earlier this year.

According to the substation complaint, residents are concerned that the installation does not belong in a family neighborhood, and state that it will be visually intrusive, potentially noisy and all-around inappropriate.

Under Maine law, any complaint regarding a public utility that involves at least 10 ratepayers shall be considered by the PUC for a potential investigation. Both complaints filed recently qualify under the “10-person complaint” guidelines, with 48 ratepayers signing on to the substation complaint and 38 signing on to the Crooked/Knox roads complaint.

An informational meeting with Emera officials has been set for the Woodbury Road substation project. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, at 6 p.m. in the municipal building auditorium. A similar meeting was held in Town Hill to discuss the new transmission lines earlier this month.

The complaint concerning the Crooked and Knox roads cites concerns over the potential for major tree clearing and the degradation of what many residents see as an environment rich in natural resources and scenic views.

As per Maine law, the PUC must immediately forward the 10-person complaints to the utility, which has 10 days to respond. The PUC can then either dismiss the complaint or hold a public hearing on it. It must reach a final decision within nine months of filing the complaint.

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Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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