Utility restructuring in the 1990s introduced customers to a new era of choice in the New England states. The existing transmission structure; however, did not provide utilities with the level of flexibility and reliability they needed to keep up with the change in demand. At least two of the region’s largest utilities now have plans to bring transmission lines up to speed.

According to the Boston Globe, National Grid USA and Northeast Utilities are months away from presenting state regulators in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island with proposals for what is being labeled the New England East-West Solution (NEEWS). The project could add up to $1 billion in new transmission construction projects. It could include 80 to 100 miles of high-voltage electric lines.

The two companies reportedly are considering adding 115,000 and 345,000 volt lines from Ludlow to Agawam in Massachusetts to North Bloomfield and Watertown in Connecticut, and new lines from North Smithfield, R.I., to Millbury, Mass; to Warwick, R.I.; and to Killingly and Lebanon in Connecticut.          EC