April 30, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

STATEWIDE

Maine's average price of gas drops nearly 3 cents to $3.50

The average retail cost of a gallon of gasoline in Maine has dropped nearly 3 cents in the past week to an average of $3.50. Price-monitoring website MaineGasPrices.com reported Monday that the state average price is now just a penny above the national average.

Prices in Maine are now almost 40 cents lower than on the same day last year and more than 21 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

The Maine prices are based on a survey of more than 1,200 gas stations in the state.

An analyst is warning consumers not to get too comfortable with the prices, as they are expected to start rising again soon.

As wild turkey season starts, hunters warned about virus

Wild turkey hunting season is under way in Maine.

The season began Monday and runs through June 1 across the southern half of the state.

Wildlife officials said Maine's turkey population is strong after once being reduced to small numbers. More than 5,000 birds have been harvested annually in recent years, up from under 1,000 in the 1990s.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is asking hunters this spring to be on the lookout for a turkey virus known as lymphoproliferative disease virus, or LPDV, that causes lesions on a turkey's head and legs.

Eating a turkey infected with the virus poses no health risk, according to Kelsey Sullivan, a game bird biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Hunters that come across diseased birds are encouraged to contact a wildlife biologist or a game warden.

Several cases of LPDV have been confirmed since the first case was reported in Maine last April.

SCARBOROUGH

OSHA proposes a hefty fine over Scarborough violations

A federal workplace safety agency is proposing that a Maine pipeline company be fined $76,000 for alleged safety violations at one of its work sites.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the proposed fines Monday against Gardiner-based Everett J. Prescott Inc.

OSHA says Prescott failed to provide an adequate protection system to protect workers from cave-ins at an excavation site in Scarborough where workers were installing a large valve in a pipe. Officials said the company was cited for similar violations in 2009.

Prescott has 15 days to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings. The company declined to comment.

HOLYOKE, Mass.

ISO New England says grid will meet power demand

New England's power grid operator says it's ready to meet summer demand for electricity.

ISO New England said Monday that under normal conditions of about 90 degrees, demand pushed up by air conditioners could peak at 26,690 megawatts of electricity. In an extended heat wave of about 95 degrees, demand could rise to 28,985 megawatts. One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.

If all power plants in New England operate at maximum output, electricity produced would total about 31,760 megawatts, providing more than enough power. But that drops to 29,580 megawatts to account for power that generators have promised to sell.

That's slightly below worst-case peak demand, but generators typically sell more power when demand spikes.

New England also has access to 1,800 megawatts outside the region and from demand reductions at participating companies.

 

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