Eversource planning additional power lines to improve system reliability

Jul 24, 2018

Eversource has plans to brighten up the town’s electric grid, with two projects planned for the upcoming years to improve reliability.

Speaking at the July 23 Select Board meeting, Eversource Senior Project Manager Todd Lanham gave an overview of the projects, which involve building additional high-voltage power lines in two spots in town. One would link the Cross Road and Fisher Road substations with an additional 5.1-mile 155,000 volt transmission line.

It would be routed alongside an existing line, which runs from Cross Road next to Autumn Glen, south over Route 6 through the AC Moore plaza, around the outer perimeter of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth west of Chase Road, and southwest through woodlands before arriving at the Fisher Road substation.

Although it is intended to improve reliability and increase capacity, it could also help lessen the impact of power loss events for customers served by the substations.

Select Board members asked a lot of questions about the height of the proposed poles -- between 75 and 108 feet -- which is higher than the existing poles. Project Manager Gregory Klabon said the additional height is the result of current standards.

An open-house-style public information event is scheduled for August 8, 5-7 p.m. at Town Hall. Eversource officials will be available to answer questions about the project. If approved by state and local officials, construction is expected to begin in early 2020 and finish by the end of that year.

Lanham also gave a brief overview of a larger project which is still in the early design stages, involving adding an additional 115,000 volt transmission line and, possibly, additional transmission buildings across 13 miles of Fall River, Dartmouth, New Bedford, and Acushnet, with about 2.6 miles traversing through Dartmouth. The goal is to fix inadequate transmission facilities servicing the region, which was identified in a report produced by the nonprofit ISO New England.

If approved by state and local officials, construction of that project is not expected to begin until mid-to-late 2020 and finish in late 2021.