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Versant Power prepares for solar eclipse

Release Date:  03-28-2024

Bangor and Presque Isle, Maine – On April 8, a total solar eclipse will be visible in Maine for the first time in over 60 years. While towns are preparing for an influx of visitors, particularly in Aroostook County where the eclipse will be most visible, Versant Power is working with regional grid operators to prepare for the eclipse’s effect on the electrical system.

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“During the eclipse, we anticipate there will be our normal customer base plus an influx of tourists in our service territory viewing the eclipse,” said John Greaves, Superintendent of System Operations at Versant Power. “We have scheduled work in our power system ahead of time to prepare for increased load and will be constantly monitoring our systems during the event.”

Planning meetings have been ongoing with the grid operator in Versant Power’s Bangor Hydro District, Independent System Operator New England (ISO-NE), as well as in the Maine Public District with the Northern Maine Independent System Administrator (NMISA) and the grid operator in the Maritimes Region. These operators are monitoring the anticipated impacts of the eclipse and making sure the power system is ready for ample generation supply to cover customer load.

The eclipse is expected to begin at about 2:30pm on April 8 and end about two hours later. It is predicted to reach totality, or when it can be seen at its fullest, at about 3:30pm. Depending on location, totality will only be visible for about one to three minutes. This means that there will be total darkness for several minutes during that time.

“With increased solar generation over the past few years, it is natural to wonder if the lack of sun during the eclipse will cause issues with grid stability,” said Greaves. “While there will be a several hour change in solar generation output, grid operators are prepared and will operate much like they would on a cloudy or rainy day during the eclipse to balance demand and supply accordingly.”

Regional power grid operators are always closely monitoring the weather and planning system maintenance around the forecast. Since the date and time of the eclipse are known and the weather forecast will be monitored, system operators will be prepared to follow their standard procedures and bring ‘operating reserve,’ or extra generation online, if needed. The same process would be followed on any day.

 The Versant Power team and regional grid operators are ready for the eclipse, and hope that you’ll prepare to view the eclipse safely. The National Safety Council has prepared a list of safety tips to know before the eclipse, including to never look directly into the sun without eye protection. Using special solar filters, like eclipse glasses available at the Versant Power Astronomy Center, is a safe way to view the eclipse.

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Maine Public Service District Bangor Hydro District


Versant Power provides electric delivery service to two areas – the Bangor Hydro District and the Maine Public District.

            The Bangor Hydro District includes Hancock, Piscataquis and Washington Counties and most of Penobscot County.
            The Maine Public District serves Aroostook County and a small piece of Penobscot County.

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