Re: “Our View: CMP fee hike undercuts renewable-energy push” (March 12):

Go outside and look at your electric meter. Then follow the wires toward the street to the poles. There, you will see a transformer where the voltage is reduced to serve your home.

Then look down the street. See all those wires, poles and transformers for other residents and businesses? Those wires eventually feed to large substations and then on to transmission lines that allow power to flow to your home.

Now think of what would happen if you put in a solar array or wind turbine at your home. Your energy consumption is reduced.

But does the meter disappear? Do the transformers, wires and other infrastructure disappear? No. Those things are required to provide service to you, no matter how much energy you consume. They must be there for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.

So even though you put in your solar array or wind turbine, the utility still has the cost of ownership of that infrastructure and maintenance. That cost, for the most part, is fixed and does not vary whether the utility sells one or 1,000 kilowatt-hours to you, the customer.

And, since we pay for much of that cost based on electric consumption, you, as the owner of the solar array or wind turbine, have passed the burden of paying for those costs on to those who cannot afford the solar arrays or wind turbines.

Central Maine Power is on the right track, but it should go in a bit of a different direction and set a fixed delivery charge. The charge would vary by type of customer but be a fixed amount each month – much like how our phone bill is now set up.

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