Eversource Plans Open House May 6 on Transmission Line Project

Eversource Energy updated the Town Council on its plans to complete a portion of the Merrimack Reliability Project in Londonderry, announcing it will hold an Open House for residents on May 6.

Northeast Utilities became Eversource Energy on Feb. 2. Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) is among the subsidiaries of Northeast Utilities that is now operating under the name Eversource.

After hearing the project will require clearing of approximately 85 feet of trees and brush in the utility right-of-way, Council Chairman John Farrell asked that Eversource be proactive in its approach to notifying abutters to the right-of-way that will be affected.

Eversource Project Manager Suzanne Findlen said Monday night that the transmission line will cross over Route 28, Interstate 93, Hovey Road, Hardy Road, Route 128, High Range Road, Mammoth Road and Wiley Hill Road.

With some clearing parallel to West Road near the soccer fields, Farrell told Findlen there are homes that could be impacted.

“There was a project a few years ago where homeowners found out not as proactively as we would have liked. I would like to see you not wait for a public session. I would like for you to reach out in a more proactive manner to those abutters,” he said.

Findlen told the Council the company has identified abutters to the project and that they plan to reach out next week.

“Most of the abutters are in Hudson – maybe five are in Londonderry,” she said, noting Eversource also plans to send out postcards to all abutters notifying them of the May 6 Open House at Matthew Thornton Elementary School.

Farrell asked that the Town be informed as to which abutters Eversource has contacted by May 4.

The information session will include an open house where residents may visit kiosks and speak with experts on the project from 5:30 to 7 p.m., followed by an informational session from 7 to 9 p.m., where Eversource will formally present the project to the public and residents will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Findlen said they will have route locators at the open house that will allow residents to see the transmission line route over a GIS (Geographic Information System) map.

The purpose of the 345-kilovolt (kV) line project is to address a growing demand for electricity in the region, preventing potential overloads on existing transmission lines, Findlen told the Council.

The new, 24-mile overhead transmission line will run from the Scobie Pond Substation in Londonderry to Tewksbury, Mass., also passing through Hudson, Windham and Pelham. A total of 18.1 miles of the transmission line will run through New Hampshire, with 8.1 miles to run through Londonderry.

All work is to be completed in the existing utility right-of-way, and no additional land or easements will be required.

Work in Londonderry is expected to include the construction of about 75 new structures, with the average height anticipated to be 88 feet above ground. The three tallest poles built in Londonderry are proposed to be 106 feet.

National Grid and Eversource Energy will jointly invest nearly $123 million to bolster the regional infrastructure, with $82 million to be invested in New Hampshire.

The project will include clearing in the utility corridor and the installation of additional towers from the Hudson town line toward Wiley Hill Road, as well as north from Wiley Hill Road toward the Scobie Pond Substation.

The project is still in the early stages, and engineering will be ongoing until the permitting process concludes.

Eversource will hold the public information session before filing its application for the project with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Commission (NHSEC).

Additionally, Eversource and National Grid must hold a joint public information session in each affected county within 45 days after the application is filed; then, the SEC will hold additional public hearings within 90 days of the application’s being accepted.

Eversource plans to file for federal permits and with the NHSEC in the spring.

If regulatory approvals are granted and construction begins in the fall of 2016, the new transmission line could be in service by the fall of 2017.

Findlen said the utility company anticipates a 14 to 15 month construction period.

Councilor Tom Freda asked how much additional taxes Eversource has budgeted for the project.

Findlen said that budgeted amount would be included in its application to the SEC and would be available at the information session May 6.

More information related to the Merrimack Valley Reliability Project is available online at www.MA-NHsolution.com. Specific questions or concerns may be directed to Findlen by email at suzanne.findlen@eversource.com