WILTON — Central Maine Power is assessing property on Main Street for a potential substation, town officials learned this week.

Town Manager Rhonda Irish told the Board of Selectpersons on Tuesday that CMP representatives say a substation in East Wilton is needed to upgrade the one off Temple Road.

Irish and board Chairwoman Tiffany Maiuri met with representatives from CMP on Tuesday to discuss the utility’s intentions for the recent purchase of a 5-acre lot at 1228 Main St., which CMP bought from Philip and Kimberly Hilton.

CMP intends to assess the location for a small substation before meeting with local residents in August. Engineers will soon begin going over the property to create a plan, Irish said.

CMP plans to start the permitting process through the town’s Planning Board in 2017, she said. Construction may start by late 2017 and the power company will start using the substation in 2018.

The current East Wilton substation serves about 700 customers in East Wilton, Jay and part of Chesterville. A second, larger substation on Flagstaff Street serves 2,296 customers in Wilton, she said.

Transmission lines from the current substation are already present on the east side of the Hilton property. There is no room at the current substation to expand. The substation is near a town ball field and behind Western Maine Community Action.

Some residents live near the substation, one selectperson said.

CMP may decide to tear down the house where the Hiltons once ran Wilton Lights, an automated Christmas show, but the footprint of the substation would not be built that close to the road, Irish said.  

Selectperson John Black asked whether the town has any say about it.  

Town ordinances do not prevent construction of a utility substation, Irish said, but the Planning Board can set restrictions, such as planting trees around it to protect adjacent properties.

It would be an infrastructure upgrade, not a huge substation, Maiuri said.

Neighbors recently expressed concern about electromagnetic fields and potential health risks.

CMP representatives told Irish and Maiuri that the electromagnetic field is negligible at the fence, Maiuri said. Plans are for the fence around the substation to be over 300 feet from the nearest residential property, she said.

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