Springfield Transmission Project Delivers Improved Grid Reliability, Jobs, and Economic Benefits for the Commonwealth
BOSTON — Tuesday, October 2, 2012 — Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced that projects to improve the Commonwealth’s electric transmission system are boosting the economy and creating jobs.
Massachusetts state regulators have approved more than $800 million in vital electric transmission upgrades in the last two years. Over 18 communities from Greater Springfield to Cape Cod are now seeing, or will soon see, system upgrade projects essential to improving reliability, reducing power costs and producing environmental benefits.
“These system upgrades aim to improve service reliability, but when you factor in the job creation and the environmental advantages from these projects, the people of the Commonwealth are benefiting in a number of ways,” said Secretary Sullivan.
The biggest project is the Greater Springfield Reliability Project (GSRP) which spans five towns in western Massachusetts and continues into Connecticut. The $718 million project, of which $575 million is in Massachusetts, broke ground in 2010 and is slated for completion next year. It is being developed by Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo) and Connecticut Light & Power. According to a study, during 2012 alone, the GSRP is expected to provide more than 1,400 local jobs in the western Massachusetts area in trades from construction and utilities to local accommodations and technical services.
“The GSRP demonstrates that revitalizing our energy infrastructure can also help to foster economic activity in the Commonwealth,” said Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Chairman Ann Berwick.
Local communities will also reap benefits from the GSRP investment, which, according to WMECo, will boost municipal property tax receipts in the Massachusetts host communities by approximately $16 million annually.
“This project means an expected increase in taxable property of over $75 million in the first year and increased revenue of over $2 million to Chicopee to help balance our city budget and improve our financial position,” said Chicopee Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette. “Construction has meant hundreds of jobs for Pioneer Valley residents and has helped to stabilize our local economy while making sure there is enough power to meet our future needs.”
The GSRP is considered a regional project with regional benefits. Ratepayers from across New England will help pay for the project. The impact of the GSRP on an average customer’s electric bill will be about 70 cents per month.
In their review process, state regulators took into account the community and environmental impacts of this major construction project and worked closely with WMECo to mitigate these impacts. Following construction, work areas are being restored and repopulated with appropriate vegetation.
While the GSRP is the largest of the ongoing transmission projects in Massachusetts, it is not alone in providing an economic boost to the Commonwealth’s communities. The Hampden County Reliability Project (National Grid and WMECo), the Lower Southeast Massachusetts Project in the Plymouth-Cape Cod area (NSTAR Electric) and upgrades in Boston and Everett (NSTAR and National Grid) will provide similar benefits.
For more information on the GSRP, visit http://www.NEEWSprojects.com and click on GSRP or call 1-866-99NEEWS.