Text Size: A A

Versant Power completes Old Town/Orono area study, pursues best opportunities to improve area reliability

Release Date:  08-12-2021

Bangor, Maine — In response to an unacceptable number of power outages affecting customers in parts of Old Town, Orono and surrounding communities since 2020, Versant Power is embarking on a multiyear plan to improve reliability of transmission service to the area.

Versant Power is installing new remote-operated technology in strategic locations to directly communicate information on the location of a problem so that it may be isolated and restoration of service may begin more quickly.

Old Town Orono Reliability 2021 B

Work is also under way to tie three transmission lines together over the next few years, allowing service to continue from an operational transmission line if any interruption occurs. A “looped” transmission system will reduce the number of customers affected by a service interruption as well as the time needed to safely restore service to as many customers as possible while any needed repairs are underway.

The multimillion-dollar project also will involve installation of more robust electrical wire in heavily forested areas of the distribution system and replacement of more than a dozen poles and associated equipment on a primary local transmission line.

“Versant Power has engaged in a thoughtful study of multiple options, including battery storage and non-wires alternatives, analyzing costs and anticipated benefits of various solutions,” said John Flynn, Versant Power president. “We’ve chosen short- and long-term reliability investments that will prevent sustained outages due to similar events through better redundancy and by eliminating constraints of the original transmission design.”

Historically, customers in this area have experienced two or three sustained transmission-related outages per year on average, largely related to storm activity. Unfortunately, service to this area has been interrupted at least 15 times since the beginning of 2020, with additional distribution-related outages affecting area customers as well.

Several incidents over the last year and a half have involved vehicles hitting utility poles, resulting in sustained outages while crews safely make repairs. However, the number and duration of outages make clear that the design of the area’s electrical system must be modernized to minimize the number of customers affected by such incidents, reduce the time needed to restore power to as many customers as possible, and provide the level of safe, reliable service customers deserve going forward.

“We know that our customers depend on us. We are not satisfied with the service our customers in the Old Town/Orono area have experienced over the last two years, and we’ve been working to analyze and implement effective solutions as quickly as possible while maintaining affordability of service,” said Flynn. “We’re working hard every day to improve the level of service we deliver.”

As always, customers with questions about their service are encouraged to visit versantpower.com, call our Customer Contact Center at 1-855-363-7211 or 207-973-2000, or email info@versantpower.com. Customers also can learn more about how we’re investing in Maine by visiting our website. Follow us on Twitter (@versantpower), Instagram (versantpower) or LinkedIn.

_ _ _

Versant Power is committed to delivering safe, reliable electric service. As the state's second-largest electric utility, the company delivers electricity to more than 159,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across 10,400 square miles in five counties in eastern and northern Maine.