STARKS — It’s unusual for a long stretch of power line to not have an area called a switchyard, which allows parts of the line to be repaired without cutting thousands of customers’ electricity.

Central Maine Power Co. is on its way to installing one of these enclosed areas, which has breakers, conductors and wires inside, after the Starks Planning Board gave its approval Wednesday night.

The switchyard still needs state approval, but the power company plans to start building the $9 million project sometime this fall, with construction likely to be completed by June, John Carroll, a company spokesman, said Thursday.

The 425-by-225-foot structure would be located off Route 43 at a site along the existing 47-mile-long power line. The line feeds various substations that serve thousands of people in Somerset and Franklin counties.

From Moscow to Livermore Falls, it runs through 12 communities and ultimately provides electricity to many more, Carroll said. Being able to segregate parts of the line for repair will cut down on the number of outages experienced by residents and businesses within those communities.

The goal is to improve “local reliability,” Carroll said. The project will “provide significant improvements for customers all along the line.”


Some residents were concerned about a well at the Gray family’s farm, which runs under the company’s driveway. There shouldn’t be a problem, however, Carroll said.

“We can work around it, and we’ve told the owner they can continue to use the well,” he said.

Kerry Hebert, Starks Planning Board chairman, said the company’s project met requirements of the town’s site review ordinance and was approved unanimously.

“It’s a relatively benign project, quite frankly,” Hebert said, as it won’t generate traffic, doesn’t make noise and doesn’t have a lot of lighting.

The board did request that the company plant shrubs to block the view of the structure, however, and it ensured the neighboring family could continue to use the well, he said.

The switchyard would be built south of the five-corners intersection, which is where West Mills Road, Route 43, Route 148, Hilton Hill Road and Old West Mills Road meet.


The company now needs an environmental permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and a driveway permit from the Maine Department of Transportation.

The lights at the structure would be used only when workers were on site, Carroll said.

The power line runs through Moscow, Concord Township, Embden, Anson, Starks, Industry, New Sharon, Farmington, Wilson, Chesterville, Jay and Livermore Falls.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]

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