Eversource Energy says it has come to an agreement with an electrical union that will funnel more work to New Hampshire residents.
The company has proposed three major transmission projects. The most well-known is the controversial power line that would connect New England to Canadian hydro-power called the Northern Pass, but also two upgrades in the southern part of the state needed to beef up weak spots in the grid – the Seacoast and the Merrimack Valley reliability projects.
Now it says, if these projects are approved, it has agreed to solicit bids from New Hampshire contractors first, for certain work. “The logging necessary to create new rights of way, the road building to build access roads, the supply of gravel, trucking operations,” says Bill Quinlan Eversource New Hampshire’s president, “There are literally dozens of areas that we think we can source through local businesses here in the state.”
The company also announced the first crop of 15 apprentice line workers it is hiring as part of a new partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
IBEW apprentices are normally employed by contractors, but Eversource says it needs the apprentices in part because of all of the upcoming projects, but also due to the aging of its workforce in general. As to how many apprentices it would eventually hire, a company spokesman said, “I don’t think there’s an anticipation that we’ll have too many… the need is great.”