IN LIGHT OF TODAY’S PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION’S PUBLIC WITNESS HEARINGS, THE CITY OF LEWISTON REITERATES SUPPORT FOR CENTRAL MAINE POWERS’ NEW ENGLAND CLEAN ENERGY CONNECT (NECEC) PROJECT
LEWISTON: In June of this year, the City Council of the City of Lewiston unanimously adopted a Resolve supporting CMP’s NECEC project. The Maine Public Utility Commission is hosting two public witness hearings today. As an intervenor in the PUC’s proceedings, it would be inappropriate for City representatives to speak at them. We do, however, wish to reiterate our support for this project and the benefits our residents and the City will receive. They include:
• A $200 million investment in Lewiston, including a major installation to convert direct current to alternating current;
• $6 million in annual new property taxes that will allow us to meet our community’s public service needs while reducing the property tax burden;
• A 9.5 terawatt hour increase in electric power to New England that will not only offset anticipated generating retirements but will increase electricity supply with a positive impact on our residents’ electric bills and the City’s $1.3 million annual power bill;
• Increased employment opportunities during the project’s five-year planning and construction period that is estimated to create over 4,000 jobs in our region;
• A reduction in Maine and New England’s generation-related greenhouse gas emissions if 3 million metric tons per year.
According to Lewiston City Administrator, Ed Barrett, “This project will bring significant benefits to Lewiston. As a service center community, we face many economic challenges including median incomes 25% below the state average, a 22% poverty rate that is more than 75% higher than Maine’s, and a large percentage of school students who are from economically challenged backgrounds. At the same time, our per resident assessed value is the lowest among Maine’s ten largest communities. Even though our operating budget’s per resident spending is also the lowest, our property tax rate is still 57% higher than the statewide rate and places a significant burden on our residents. CMP’s decision to locate a converter station in Lewiston, when it could easily have been located in an adjacent community with a lower tax rate, brings with it an element of social justice given its investment in a community with a large, economically challenged population whose needs the City struggles to meet.”
The City of Lewiston urges the PUC to approve CMP’s proposal.