Doug Herling, CEO of Central Maine Power. Credit: Courtesy of Central Maine Power

Central Maine Power’s president and CEO will retire at the end of June.

Doug Herling, who has been at the company for the past 36 years, has been the top official at the company since 2018 and started at CMP in 1985, according to the company.

“Leading CMP has been an honor and a privilege,” Herling said Wednesday. “CMP is a great company that has served Maine since 1899 and I know will continue to proudly serve our customers in Maine for many years to come.”

Before he was tapped as president and CEO, Herling was in charge of the construction and oversight of the $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Project, which was aimed to provide greater reliability across the state by adding more power lines, poles and substations to give more people more access to more power.

Two years later, nearly half a million Mainers were left without power, some for days, after a storm whipped through the state in October 2017.

More recently, CMP has been the target of a bill that aims to create a consumer-owned utility through the referendum process that would replace CMP as well as the state’s other major power company, Versant Power.

On Tuesday, the Legislature’s energy committee advanced the measure with a 9-2 vote. It still faces votes before the full Legislature before it can be sent to voters.

Herling is departing from the company amid a contentious legal battle between environmentalists and the company in federal court over its hydropower transmission project.

The project, known as the New England Clean Energy Connect, has been granted a number of key permits, including from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, but is awaiting permits from others.

The 145-mile corridor would carry Canadian hydropower through western Maine to the regional power grid.

An injunction that barred tree-clearing from a key 50-mile section from Jackman to The Forks put the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit for the project on hold, but that was lifted in mid-May. Opponents say the project would bisect a unique woodland habitat that could risk the health of multiple species.

The Appalachian Mountain Club, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Sierra Club Maine filed a federal lawsuit to halt construction in October 2020, due to the questionable environmental impact the project may have.

But that injunction was lifted in May and CMP has been cleared to continue work, at least in one area of the project.

David Flanagan, executive board chair of CMP, on Wednesday thanked Herling for his leadership, saying his “energy and determination will be missed.”

Herling’s last day will be June 30.

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...