May 4, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 2:21 pm

NU advances transmission project in CT, Mass.

A Northeast Utilities executive says that the warm weather has helped it advance a transmission project in western Massachusetts and Connecticut, The Associated Press reports.

Leon Olivier, executive vice president and chief operating officer, told investor analysts on a conference call Thursday that the work is nearly two-thirds complete.

The $718 million project, intended to improve reliability during peak use and keep pace with rising electricity demand, is expected to be completed by late next year.

Olivier said Hartford/Boston-based NU, parent of Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and Connecticut Light & Power, can secure rights of way in the Northern Pass power project in New Hampshire without using eminent domain.

Northern Pass, a 180-mile transmission project to bring Canadian hydropower to southern New England, is debated in northern New Hampshire, where residents say they worry that it would use eminent domain to carve out the 40 miles it needs in the area.

Olivier said 140 miles of the project is to be built along existing rights of way and the remaining 40 miles will require new rights of way. NU is making "good progress" obtaining rights of way and plans to present a new route to federal regulators in the third quarter of this year, he said.

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