A Central Maine Power Co. affiliate has signed an additional $7 million worth of contracts with four Maine companies for work related to its controversial power transmission corridor project through western Maine.

The work will be divided among Eastern Forest Products in Casco, Maine Mats in Bingham, Dimensional Timber in Palermo and Sunset Development Inc. in Milford.

New England Clean Energy Connect LLC already has committed hundreds of million of dollars to contractors to perform work despite a looming referendum vote in November that seeks to halt the project by reversing a previous regulatory approval.

“This is just another example of how the New England Clean Energy Connect is bringing jobs to Maine,” Thorn Dickinson, president and CEO of NECEC LLC Transmission, said in a news release Friday. “The corridor is projected to inject more than $570 million into Maine’s economy and will ensure steady work for Mainers in a time of great economic uncertainty.”

The contracts will ensure the production of 17,000 mats for the project, the company said. Recently, NECEC purchased an additional 30,000 mats from Maine contractors at a cost of $12 million. That, coupled with the announcement of $300 million worth of transmission construction contracts, translates into a $320 million dollar investment that will directly benefit Maine’s economy and create more than 700 jobs, it said.

“The economic impact of this contract can’t be overstated. It has allowed our company to purchase an additional mill and hire more employees,” said James Reinzo, CEO of Sunset Development Inc., in the release. “The project’s trickle-down effect will put millions into the Maine economy at a time when so many Mainers are facing economic hardship.”

A citizen initiative petition has been approved that will force a statewide vote on the $1 billion project in November.

If approved by voters, the referendum is intended force the Maine Public Utilities Commission to reverse its May 2019 decision that the corridor project is in the interests of the state, thus halting any construction on the project. A referendum forcing an apolitical regulatory group to reverse a prior decision would be unprecedented in Maine.

The proposal calls for a transmission line to bring 1,200 megawatts of electricity from Hydro-Quebec to the New England power grid across 145 miles of transmission line.

Most of the transmission line would follow established utility corridors, but a new swath would be cut through 53 miles of wilderness owned by CMP in western Maine. The project is being funded by Hydro-Quebec and Massachusetts utility customers.

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