The Maine Public Utilities Commission has set a schedule to hear comments on an aagreement filed Feb. 21, 2019, by a group of supporters for Central Maine Power's and Hydro-Quebec's transmision line through western Maine. Credit: Lori Valigra

The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Thursday set a schedule for comments on a filing earlier in the day by parties supporting a proposed $1 billion hydropower transmission line through western Maine.

Only the 30 parties involved in the commission’s case on whether Central Maine power will be granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity for its proposed New England Clean Energy Connect project will be able to comment, according to PUC spokesman Harry Lanphear.

The NECEC would transmit hydropower from the Canadian border through Maine to Massachusetts.

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Public comments on the project submitted to the PUC are being considered by the commissioners as part of the overall case, Lanphear said.

While today’s stipulation, which included benefits for Central Maine Power and Emera Maine customers, had the support of the governor’s office as well as nine other parties, NextEra Energy Resources and 11 other parties did not support it.

The stipulation aims to garner support for CMP’s request for certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project.

Such a certificate would be a big move forward for the controversial project, which still needs PUC approval and approvals from the Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Maine Land Use Planning Commission, which oversees Maine’s unorganized territory.

If approved, the stipulation, which states it would provide hundreds of millions of dollars to low-income Mainers, electric vehicle and other projects, would be attached to the certificate of public convenience and necessity for CMP’s project.

The PUC said parties can file comments by March 1. A hearing on the stipulation will be held on March 7 at 10 a.m. at the PUC’s offices in Hallowell.

The public and other non-parties can listen to but not participate in the hearing in person or via the commission’s website.

The PUC’s Examiners’ Report, which compiles the facts of the case, is due March 18. The deadline was extended from March 1 because of the stipulation.