Crews from Homeland Power and Utility, a Bangor-based company work on a project in this undated courtesy photo. Credit: Courtesy Homeland Power and Utility

People’s first thoughts about Bangor might go back to a rich history of a thriving lumber industry or author Stephen King. But at least one company has made the state’s Queen City into an incubator for highly specialized utility work.

Homeland Power and Utility has been in Bangor for about a year and has been flush with business. While companies like Versant Power have crews who do some portions of daily maintenance and line work, major utilities tend to seek other firms to do the work for larger and longer projects, such as repairing transmission lines.

That’s where Homeland Power and Utility comes in. The company does a variety of work on major utility infrastructure from line repairs to substation construction and storm restoration work, said John Slattery, the director of business development for Homeland.

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In the company’s first year in Maine, it brought in more than $15 million in revenue, Slattery said.

“I think it’s fair to say we exceeded our expectations,” he said. “We’ve done a significant amount of business. We’ve done in the order of 23 various transmission line projects in the north country [of Maine], plus storm duty work.”

Aging electric infrastructure across the state needs replacement and repairs. In the Bangor area, Versant said in August 2021 that it would put resources toward such infrastructure in Old Town and Orono after an “unacceptable” number of outages since 2020.

Earlier this month, Homeland completed a project for Versant in Presque Isle, modernizing and rebuilding portions of Line 1176. The company is also in the running to do work for the company this spring as Versant looks to replace six miles of its oldest line in the state.  

The business is headquartered in Danvers, Massachusetts, but the move to Maine wasn’t random, Slattery said.

Crews from Homeland Power and Utility, a Bangor-based company work on a project in this undated courtesy photo. Credit: Courtesy Homeland Power and Utility

“We saw an opportunity for a startup company in transmission line work in particular,” Slattery said. “So many major projects were incubating up in Maine that were on the planning tables. I’m talking about three or four years ago.”

Plus, it would significantly reduce the commute time for many of the company’s key personnel, he said.

Slattery said he and other members of the Maine-based company worked together in Maine before, with a different company in Westbrook, making the move to Bangor a bit of a homecoming.

With a solid first year in Maine under the company’s belt, the attention has shifted to look outward and continue expanding by hiring more employees.

Although part of the work includes things like planning projects, there can also at times be a bit of excitement, he said.

“It’s a bit of an adventure,” he said. “It requires working at an elevation; sometimes you’re in a bucket truck, for instance, that keeps you 30 or 40 feet off the ground and you feel fairly secure. However other times when you’re on top of a steel structure between 100 to 170 feet in the air.”

Aside from the utility work, the company also has its own garage and mechanics on site to repair the company’s fleet of specialized vehicles and equipment, Slattery said.

The company has between 40 to 60 linemen and is looking for more, he said.

Employees of the company are represented by the New England chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers which means rates of pay are on a set scale negotiated by the union. The specific expected wages for each type of utility position covered by the union can be found on the New England chapter’s website.

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...