General Manager’s Update

May 2024

Joint Planning Board and Zoning Board Meeting on Proposed HMLP Substation June 4, 2024 – 7:00 p.m.

How to participate on June 4

You may dial in, or use the Web

Dial-in callers: Call 929-205-6099
Web users: https://zoom.us/join
Meeting ID: 826 9132
Passcode: 424332

artist rendering for proposed substation at hingham transfer station

Artist rendering shows proposed substation at the Hingham Transfer Station

Dear HMLP Customers:

Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant (HMLP) continues to move forward with the Hingham Electrical Infrastructure Reliability Project (HEIRP), an initiative designed to ensure the long-term reliability of Hingham’s electrical supply and help meet the Town’s climate goals.  This update is intended to provide notice of, and information on, an upcoming local meeting regarding HMLP’s proposed substation in Hingham.

On June 4, 2024 at 7:00 p.m., the Hingham Planning Board and Hingham Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a joint public meeting via Zoom regarding HMLP’s proposed substation to be located at the Hingham Transfer Station at 0 Hobart Street.  This Zoom meeting is part of the Town’s informal review of HMLP’s proposed substation.

The Proposed Project:

The proposed infrastructure project includes: (1) a new tap station off Broad Street in Weymouth that will be built and operated by Eversource; (2) a 3.2-mile underground 115 kV line that will travel through Weymouth and Hingham; and (3) a new enclosed substation to be constructed and operated by HMLP at the transfer station in Hingham.  Together, the new line and two new stations will provide Hingham with a critical second source of power and bring HMLP into compliance with regional reliability standards.

Currently, HMLP obtains its entire supply of electricity via two overhead lines that feed into a single substation off Hobart Street.  In many places, these two lines are located on single poles.  If severe weather or another contingency causes a double-circuit pole to fall, Hingham residents and businesses could be without power for an extended period of time.  Similarly, if one of the two lines is out of service for maintenance and the second line experiences an unexpected contingency event, the entire Town would be without power.

These reliability issues are the fundamental driver behind the HEIRP initiative.  The proposed project would secure Hingham’s electrical supply by adding a new underground transmission line.  The new line would supplement HMLP’s existing lines and could handle the Town’s entire power supply needs if the existing overhead lines are taken out of service.  Moreover, as the Town continues to pursue greater electrification consistent with its climate goals, the HEIRP will ensure adequate capacity for all customers and future uses.

June 4th Public Meeting:

As noted above, on June 4, 2024 at 7:00 p.m., the Hingham Planning Board and Hingham Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a joint public meeting via Zoom as part of it’s informal review of the substation proposal.

Because HMLP’s proposed transmission line is greater than one mile in length and will operate at a capacity greater than 69 kV, the entire HEIRP proposal must be reviewed and approved by the State’s Energy Facilities Siting Board (“Siting Board”).  HMLP will also file a petition with the State for an exemption from local zoning requirements in both Hingham and Weymouth.  Like many utility-proposed transmission line projects that span multiple cities and towns, HMLP is seeking this exemption to (1) minimize the possibility of being subject to conflicting decisions from different towns, and (2) reduce the likelihood of costly and time-consuming litigation.

While HMLP is permitted by law to petition the State for this exemption from local zoning requirements, it is not HMLP’s intent here to avoid input and recommendations from the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Board or, importantly, from the citizens of Hingham regarding the proposed Hingham substation.  Rather, HMLP plans to present the Siting Board with the Town’s input and recommendations regarding the proposed substation whenever they are issued.

On April 12, 2024, HMLP submitted its plans for construction and operation of its proposed substation to the Planning Board and Zoning Board.  Significantly, HMLP’s filing identifies construction and environmental impacts associated with construction and operation of the proposed substation and sets forth HMLP’s plans to mitigate those impacts. A copy of HMLP April 12th submission to the Planning and Zoning Boards can be accessed through the following link: https://www.hingham-ma.gov/767/Applications-Pending 

HMLP has provided the Planning Board and Zoning Board with comprehensive information and documentation regarding its plans in order to elicit feedback from Hingham residents and ultimately input and recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Boards.  HMLP plans to submit its zoning exemption petition to the State over the next several weeks and will forward the Planning Board’s and Zoning Board’s Town’s input and recommendations directly to the DPU and Siting Board for consideration once they are available.    

HMLP encourages its customers to participate in the joint public meeting of the Planning and Zoning Boards and provide any comments regarding the proposed substation project.

HMLP is committed to working cooperatively with the towns of Hingham and Weymouth and to keeping residents and ratepayers informed about this important electric infrastructure project.  Additional information about this project – and opportunities to provide feedback – can be found at the HEIRP website: http://heirp.com

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Morahan
HMLP General Manager

March 2024

Eversource, HMLP to hold Open House in Weymouth on March 19, 2024 to discuss upcoming infrastructure project

As part of their continuing community outreach regarding the Hingham Electrical Infrastructure Reliability Project, Eversource and HMLP on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 6 p.m. will jointly host an Open House at Crossroads Worship Center, 241 Broad Street in Weymouth.

At the Open House, Eversource and HMLP will provide information and answer questions about HMLP’s 115 kV transmission line project, with a focus on a proposed “tap station” that Eversource would construct and operate within its transmission right-of-way off Broad Street in Weymouth.

At this meeting, HMLP also will discuss and answer questions about other key components of the project, including the 3.2-mile underground line that will be constructed by HMLP in Weymouth and Hingham, and the substation that will be located at the transfer station in Hingham.

Hingham residents and businesses are welcome to attend the Open House in Weymouth. Light refreshments will be served.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about the project, please send an email to heirp@hmlp.com.

transmission lines serving Hingham

March 2023

What’s going on with the Hingham Electrical Infrastructure Reliability Project (HEIRP)?

Almost a decade ago, HMLP began looking at how to ensure the reliability, long-term sustainability and resiliency of our electric supply. At issue for HMLP is the route and manner by which we currently obtain electricity from the Massachusetts electric grid – via two overhead electric lines. A portion of these overhead supply lines parallel the MBTA railroad line, as you can see in the accompanying photo.

As currently configured, the parallel overhead transmission lines serving Hingham do not meet established reliability standards.  Any number of contingencies – such as an extreme weather event or a train accident - could disrupt Hingham’s power supply for days, or even weeks.  Because HMLP’s current system does not meet state and federal reliability standards for utilities, it became clear a few years ago that HMLP needed a third transmission line to ensure continuous and uninterrupted power. Moreover, a third transmission line will support the Town of Hingham’s Climate Action Plan as the Town and HMLP together proceed with electrification efforts necessary to meet climate change goals.

Early studies conducted by HMLP found that the new transmission line should be built underground and that a new substation in Hingham also would be required in order to ensure reliability and position HMLP to serve growing electrification needs over time.

Town MeetingAlmost three years ago, HMLP began introducing its plans to the public and to people who might have homes and/or businesses along the preliminarily proposed routes. We named the project: the Hingham Electrical Infrastructure Reliability Project (HEIRP) and we created a separate website regarding the project.

After a series of preliminary meetings in Hingham in 2021, HMLP achieved a significant milestone in April 2022 when at Town Meeting, Hingham voters approved HMLP’s request to transfer custody and control of a portion of the Transfer Station property to HMLP for the new substation that the project requires.

Next, in a series of public Open Houses held in Hingham and Weymouth in the Summer and Fall of 2022, HMLP provided details on the proposed project, and presented two preliminary routes through Hingham and Weymouth that would begin at HMLP’s new substation site on the northeastern corner of the Town Transfer Station on Hobart Street in Hingham, extend along public ways through Hingham and Weymouth, and interconnect with an Eversource transmission line off of Broad Street in Weymouth.  At these meetings, HMLP received valuable public feedback from residents and businesses on a whole host of issues of importance to the community, including traffic control, noise mitigation, construction schedules and construction methods, and HMLP’s plans for communicating with residents and businesses before and during construction.

For much of 2023, HMLP’s project team has been engaged in the detailed planning and design work required for filings with the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) – filings which must be approved by the EFSB for the project to move forward. The feedback received at the 2022 Open Houses was critical to the planning and design work needed for the project and importantly enabled HMLP to select its Preferred and Noticed Alternative Routes for the EFSB filings.

As shown in the accompanying map, HMLP’s Preferred Route is approximately 3.2 miles long. This route exits the proposed Hobart II Substation at the HinghamHLMP potential routes map transfer station and runs west on Hobart Street, turns south on French Street, then turns west on High Street and continues west into Weymouth on High Street which becomes Broad at Commercial Street. Broad Street is followed for approximately 9,300 feet until ending at the Weymouth Tap Station Site at the Eversource Right-of-Way.

The Noticed Alternative Route is 3.7 miles long.  This route also exits the proposed Hobart II Substation in Hingham and runs west on Hobart Street, then turns south on French Street and turns west on High Street.  The Noticed Alternative Route then continues west into Weymouth continuing on High Street which becomes Broad Street.  This route then turns south down Water Street, turning north on Pleasant Street, and travels west on Lake Street, and northwest on Essex Street, which transitions to Spring Street.  The route turns west onto Broad Street and continues west on Broad Street to the Weymouth Tap Station site on Eversource’s Right-of-Way.

HMLP is expecting to submit its regulatory filings to the EFSB in the fourth quarter of 2023.  The filing of petitions with the EFSB will kick off a new public process in which the agency will hold public hearings – as yet not scheduled – to invite public comment and input from officials, residents and businesses in Hingham and Weymouth.  These public hearings will be widely publicized with press releases and public notices at the time they are scheduled.

At HMLP, our mission is to provide reliable electric services to the Town of Hingham while keeping rates reasonable, service quality high, and operations environmentally sustainable, including a commitment to 100% carbon-free energy. The Hingham Electrical Infrastructure Reliability Project is a vital component of fulfilling our mission, and I hope you will continue to support HMLP and our team as we work to bring this Project online.


Tom Morahan

General Manager