JAY — Town officials are asking Maine’s congressional delegation to look into the delay by ISO New England in approving a request to interconnect four hydroelectric plants in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls in order to sell electricity to the New England power grid.

ISO New England is an “independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for keeping electricity flowing across the six New England states and ensuring that the region has reliable, competitively priced wholesale electricity today and into the future,” according to its website.

Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, headquartered in Maryland, owns two hydroelectric facilities in Jay and one each in neighboring Livermore and Livermore Falls. The company was licensed to produce electricity for the Pixelle Specialty Solutions Androscoggin Mill in Jay, which closed earlier this year.

It was a “devastating blow to the town,” Jay assessing agent Paul Binette wrote in the letter to U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Rep. Jared Golden. Binette is also the assessing agent for Livermore and Livermore Falls.

Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere sent three emails similar to the letter.

Livermore Falls Town Manager Carrie Castonguay said she is also sending a letter on behalf of Livermore Falls.


Eagle Creek Renewable Energy’s Riley hydroelectric facility in Jay is seen in 2017. Sun Journal file photo

“Currently, these four hydroelectric dams are not authorized to connect to sell energy to the grid but can only sell energy to the now shuttered mill,” Binette wrote. “This issue definitely affects the valuation of the hydro dams if they cannot sell energy. As you can imagine, the town of Jay is currently not in a position to lose any more assessed valuation.”

In Binette’s recent conversations with officials from Andro Hydro, an affiliate of Eagle Creek, which owns and operates the facilities, “we have learned that ISO-NE has unexpectedly advised Andro Hydro that their interconnection would be delayed because a certain requirement was not met by an ISO-NE internal deadline,” according to Binette. “This deadline, as explained to us, had not been published or communicated earlier in the process with Andro Hydro, LLC.”

Prior to receiving the notice, Andro Hydro estimated it could be ready to connect and sell to the grid in the fourth quarter of 2023. Then the connection date was pushed to the second quarter of 2024.

The letter asks the delegation to find out why the delay cannot be expedited to accommodate a fourth quarter 2023 completion date.

As the assessment date in Maine is April 1, it is critical for the towns of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls that Andro Hydro be online no later than the first quarter of 2024, Binette wrote.

“These facilities have provided jobs and clean carbon free electricity to the mill and the citizens of Maine for over a century,” Eagle Creek said in a statement. “We are disappointed the ability to supply this needed renewable energy has been interrupted and are working with ISO-NE and (Central Maine Power Co.) to restore the supply as soon as possible.

“ISO-NE and CMP both have technical, procedural, and tariff requirements that make this a lengthy process, and we are working with both parties to navigate the requirements and find places where unnecessary steps can be removed,” the letter said. “Andro Hydro’s objective is to be delivering power to the Maine grid no later than February 2024. We appreciate the working relationship we have with the communities we are in and understand the economic hardship for the residents when there is a change in the overall tax base of a town.”

All four hydroelectric facilities were purchased from Verso Corp. in 2016 by Eagle Creek for nearly $62 million. Ontario Power Generation of Canada acquired dozens of Eagle Creek hydroelectric facilities in 2018. The company kept the Eagle Creek Renewable Energy name and management team at the time.

Representatives of ISO-New England were not immediately available for comment Friday.

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