Benton residents who have complaints about a Central Maine Power Co. substation on Albion Road will get to ask questions of the company at a Public Utilities Commission technical conference Wednesday.

The technical conference is part of the commission’s investigation into the complaints and comes in the wake of CMP submitting answers to data requests from an examiner with the commission. Any party in the case may ask questions regarding the data.

Representatives from CMP and the Maine Office of the Public Advocate are expected to be at the conference, which begins at 9 a.m. at the PUC offices in Hallowell.

“It’s their chance to ask anything they want,” Maine PUC Executive Director Harry Lanphear said Monday.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission ordered an investigation into the operations of the substation in February following nearly three years of dispute between the company and neighboring property owners about noise coming from the substation.

Complaints from neighbors of excessive noise date back to May 2013, just after the construction of the substation had been completed as part of the company’s $1.4 billion system upgrade. Following the initial complaints and two years of mitigation attempts, a special land dispute team set up by the PUC decided that the issue should be turned over to the commission because it was beyond the team’s scope.

Since the commission took over investigating the dispute, an initial conference was held on Feb. 11 to lay out the complaints alleged by landowners, the nature of the investigation and the procedural order going forward.

On Feb. 18, the PUC filed a data request to CMP, as well as to the ombudsman investigating the complaints before the PUC took over, seeking information and data about issues regarding the noises coming from the substation.

Both CMP and the ombudsman responded to these requests by March 3.

CMP was asked to provide information regarding sound level testing results from the substation, specifications of the substation, diagrams of the station, what type of sound monitoring equipment the substation has and where it is installed, any analysis or reports regarding possible mitigation steps to address the noise, results of studies done on the performance of transformers at the substation, as well as an analysis and cost estimates of modifications that would address the cause of the noise.

Lanphear said that the course of the investigation following the conference depends on how Wednesday goes.

“We’re trying to do this case as quickly as possible,” Lanphear said. “That being said, we want to give (the parties) all the time they need to ask the questions they feel need to be asked.”

He said it is possible that a formal hearing could be held if follow up questions need to be answered, after which PUC staff would draft a recommendation letter on how the complaints can be mitigated and resolved.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate