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Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Update On Power Line Upgrades

Lost in Thursday's news that The United Illuminating Co. wants to invest at least $60 million in power line upgrade projects that Connecticut Light & Power is undertaking is how those projects are progressing with very little fanfare.

The last time UI and CL&P partnered on a power line project was the Middletown-to-Norwalk upgrade that started in 2006 and became operational in late 2008. But battle over what route the project would take - and how it would be deployed - attracted in statewide attention for several years before construction started and resulted in numerous lawsuits.

This time around, the power line upgrades that CL&P’s corporate parent, Berlin-based Northeast Utilities, is undertaking have a much lower profile.

The first in a series of four interconnected power line upgrade projects that NU collectively calls the New England East West Solution is scheduled to begin construction sometime between now and the end of September, according to Al Lara, a CL&P spokesman.

The Greater Springfield Reliability Project will run between Bloomfield and Ludlow, Mass. and include 36 miles of 345-kilovolt power lines and 5 miles of new or reconstructed 115-kilovolt power lines, Lara said Thursday. For a map of the route the Greater Springfield Reliability Project will take and other information about the upgrade, click here.

Of the three other power line upgrade projects that also come under the New England East West Solution moniker, two of them are in Connecticut.

One, the so-called Interstate Reliability Project, stretches 41 miles along a winding route that goes from Willimantic through 10 other eastern Connecticut communities. The 345-kilovolt lines that will be put in place as part of this project will link with transmission line improvements being made in Rhode Island by another utility, National Grid.

Construction of the Interstate Reliability Project will start sometime next year, Lara said. For more information on the route that the Interstate Reliability Project and other details about the upgrade, click here.

The other Connecticut portion of the New England East West Solution is know as Central Connecticut Reliability Project. It calls for 36 miles of 345-kilovolt transmission lines between Watertown and Bloomfield.

Lara said the Central Connecticut Reliability Project won't be in operation until sometime in 2015. For more information on the route that the Central Connecticut Reliability Project and other details about the upgrade, click here.

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