July 2, 2020
Good news for Houlton Water Company electric customers, your rates will soon decrease. We are pleased to inform you that the new direct transmission line and associated substation additions connecting the HWC electric system to the New Brunswick Power (NBP) electric system have been completed. The new connection went on line during the early morning of May 15th. The transfer from the existing Versant Power (previously Emera Maine & Maine Public Service) transmission system to the NBP system will result in an annual savings of over one and a half million dollars ($1.5 million) for HWC customers and also enhance the reliability of the HWC system. These cost savings are avoided transmission costs associated with the Versant System.
The project required obtaining numerous permits on both sides of the border from the State of Maine, USA Federal Government, Province of New Brunswick and Canadian Federal Government. Once fully permitted the construction of transmission lines and associated substation equipment began on both sides of the border.
The project was an eight year effort that included many key governmental institutions, regulatory authorities, organizations and companies. We are appreciative of all the expert assistance received from both sides of the border on banking, legal, consulting, engineering, and the unwavering support of the HWC employees and Board of Directors past and present. In addition, without NBP management and the staff’s enthusiasm, cooperation and expertise the project would have not have been fully permitted and completed.
Not only will the new line benefit HWC customers but also the remainder of Aroostook County (Versant, Van Buren Light & Power and Eastern Maine Electric Coop) customers. Their transmission reliability will improve and the need for added capital investment will decrease.
This direct line will save HWC customers money but will also enhance HWC system reliability. The new line is a shorter distance than the previous Emera line and a new substation and transformer will replace older equipment. In addition, HWC has entered into backup arrangement with Versant Power (formerly Emera Maine) to continue to have the old Emera line for back up. We will now have two sources of transmission feed to HWC versus one single source. This configuration with two transmission paths should lessen the risk that HWC customers will experience extended outages.
We estimate the yearly savings for the average residential customers should be approximately $100 dollars per year. This direct line to NBP will stabilize the transmission portion of the customer’s electric bill which has been increasing dramatically for the past several years and should also be an added tool for economic development in the area.
Also for 2020, HWC entered into a new Standard Offer Agreement for energy supply for our customers lowering the rate from .067 to .06625 cents per kWh. Not a dramatic decrease, but the term of the deal is for five year stabilizing rates during that period. The resulting savings is about $5.50 per year for the average residential customer.
Saving money and improving reliability for our customers is primary for our mission and existence. The project completion is a win / win for Aroostook County, our community and all of our customers. We are pleased to bring you this good news of decreased cost and improved reliability.
Gregory F. Sherman
General Manager, HWC
On June 29 th at 12:00am, the Houlton Water Company will be taking a system wide outage to perform maintenance to the transformer in the new Houlton Substation, located in Canada. We anticipate that the outage will last no more than 5 hours and expect customers to have power restored to them by 5:00 am on Monday Morning June 29th. It is important to note that this work is happening in the middle of the night, early Monday morning, to limit inconvenience to our customers. The purpose of the outage is to adjust settings on the transformer supplying power to HWC so that we can properly regulate the voltage on our system. We currently have no issues but there is a need to increase the margins by which we maintain this voltage to meet the demands of our system in inclement weather. HWC wants to thank its customers for its patience as we make final adjustments to the equipment which provides service though the NBP interconnection.
Please Note: If the work is unable to be completed because of poor weather the Rain Date is June 30th.
Greg Sherman, GM
On May 15th at 1:00am the Houlton Water Company will be taking a system wide outage to switch from the Emera Maine Transmission system to the New Brunswick Power Transmission System. We anticipate that the outage will last no more than 3 hours and the bulk of customer are expected to have power restored by 4:00 am on May 15th. It is important to note that this switchover is happening in the middle of the night, early Friday morning, to limit inconvenience to our customers. HWC wants to thank its customers for its patience as we finalize the interconnection to NB Power.
March 16, 2020
Hallowell, Maine – March 16, 2020 In light of public health concerns arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the Civil State of Emergency declared by the Governor, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission), through its Director of the Consumer Assistance and Safety Division, has directed that all electric transmission and distribution utilities, natural gas utilities, water utilities, and telephone Providers of Last Resort (POLR) service not engage in any disconnection activity until further notice. This includes the issuance of disconnection notices and actual service disconnections for all classes of customers.
“No one will lose utility service or be threatened with disconnection during this civil emergency,” said Chairman Philip L. Bartlett, II. This applies equally to residential and business customers and is effective immediately.
Background: The Commission may take emergency action under certain circumstances. These actions are being taken pursuant to the Emergency Moratorium provisions contained in the Commission’s consumer protection rules: Chapter 815, section 3; Chapter 660, section 3; and Chapter 290, section 4.
About the Commission The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service and Dig Safe. Philip L. Bartlett, II serves as Chairman, Bruce Williamson and Randall Davis serve as Commissioners.
I want to thank the Houlton Water Company customers for their patience with regard to the outage today.
We anticipate that the Foxcroft Road, the side roads and the airport will be back on shortly, around 2 pm. It has taken a little longer to complete the change-over than scheduled.
Again, thank each of you for your patience. This is not an undertaking that we wanted take in these weather conditions, but is work that must be completed to the 34.5kV HWC sub-transmission system.
Greg Sherman GM
Electric Outage November 24, 2019
Power will be turned off at 7:30 A.M. on November 24, 2019, and will be restored at approximately 1:00 P.M. on November 24, 2019.
The locations for the outage follows:
All of Airport Circuit – Cooks Brook Road to Border
Cooks Brook Road
All of the Foxcroft Road from Pleasant Street out
This outage is required for the Houlton Water Company to upgrade our 34.5 kv transmission line feeding into Foxcroft Substation.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact out office at
Thank you for your understanding.