BENTON — The Benton Board of Select Persons recently heard complaints from homeowners living near a Central Maine Power Co. substation who say they are no longer receiving tax abatements that had been approved years ago because they must contend with noise generated by the substation.

The board was told last week the nine Benton homeowners each had received a tax reduction of 20% on their annual property tax bills. But the homeowners said a townwide property revaluation completed in 2021 somehow led to the abatements being discontinued, Selectwoman Melissa Patterson wrote in an email last week.

The residents are now asking that the board reapprove the abatements. Patterson is one of the nine homeowners who had received the abatement.

“I live on Patterson Road in Benton and have battled with the noise the substation emits since it was erected approximately 10 years ago,” Patterson said.

The company that conducted the revaluation, Maine Assessment & Appraisal Services of Dixmont, said it has no say over approving an abatement, which is a decision for the Board of Select Persons.

“We feel it would be best for you and/or the select board to review and make a decision on honoring the old method of 20% off on both land and buildings,” Josh Bragan, the assessor in Benton, wrote earlier this month in a memorandum to the board.


The substation is just north of Albion Road, where the road intersects with Blaisdell Lane to the west and Patterson Road to the east.

Bragan also told the select board it appeared noise from the substation traveled no more than 2,000 feet, and that each of the nine houses is located beyond that distance. Residents in the past have been directed to use a handheld device that measures decibels to record how loud the sound can get, and Bragan said that should be done again.

But Patterson said residents living up to a half-mile from the substation have complained for years about the noise. People have described the sound as a constant humming that gets louder into the night.

“I would describe the noise as constant and ear piercing,” Patterson said, later adding, “It makes you want to plug your ears.”

Adam Shibles lives on Albion Road and told the Morning Sentinel in an email that he has put up with the noise for years. He said he has contacted Maine Assessment & Appraisal Services and was told the firm had no role in eliminating the abatement.

“I have spoken to them thrice and was told the numbers were adjusted in the bill (to reflect the abatement),” Shibles said. “I haven’t seen a reduction in my taxes.”

The sound generated is a result of a high-voltage current being reduced to a lower voltage before being distributed further. Transformers, transmitters, antennas, towers, generators and wires are part of the substation equipment.

CMP in 2018 bought the houses of two people affected by the noise levels. The company, however, has not received a formal complaint from residents since then, according to Jonathan Breed, the company’s director of communications.

The Board of Select Persons has yet to make a decision on whether to reinstate the abatement for the homeowners.

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