I sure hope that the price of gasoline and heating oil continue to go down because when I look at how Maine is probably going to get hit hard in the wallet this winter the money is going to have to come from somewhere. It’s either that or there will be a lot of ice on the inside of our windows come January. I laugh when financial experts claim that the value of the dollar has increased but in my world it buys less and less. There have been some recent predictions about the cost of natural gas and electricity in Maine come this winter and quite frankly it’s scary to my wife and me. We have been planning to move down South but there has been a rapid spread of tropical diseases so perhaps a move to the North Pole would be a better move unless the polar bears are hungry.

There have been several stories in the media lately about the price of natural gas skyrocketing in Maine this winter, which will affect the price of electricity generated by power plants fueled by gas. Although both residential and commercial electricity rates are expected to increase significantly, the commercial rate could go from 6 cents to 15 cents a kilowatt, which I believe will be a disaster for the family-owned convenience stores. They use a tremendous amount of electricity for such things as their coolers, pizza ovens, signs and even their numerous lights. If they use $1,000 a month in electricity their bill would soar to $2,500 and for some that would be a death sentence. Residential rates would increase as well but not quite as bad as commercial rates.

I have a feeling that companies that use a large amount of electricity and don’t generate some their own power will be in trouble as well. We know that Maine’s paper industry is declining so God only knows what the impact will be for them continuing in business. I used to work in the Lincoln Pulp and Paper Mill where some their electricity was produced by oil-fired boilers. Then the mill went to a biomass boiler that could burn just about anything one could pour into it. The problem is the average Maine family can’t afford to build anything like that in order to produce their own electricity.

What’s really worse is the push to do away with nuclear power plants as well as dams that could produce significant electricity to power all of Maine and other states as well. Biomass plants could assist in producing power and if they burn woodchips or byproducts from wood products their source is renewable. As we all know too well now, the environmentalists would be against all of that so do we put windmills on every mountaintop and solar arrays in every valley across Maine? Germany tried that and their electricity rates have skyrocketed.

I have a feeling that at the same time there will be a huge push to increase the minimum wage to a so-called livable wage, and where that money comes from I don’t have a clue. Well, actually I do because it will come from each and every one of us. The wage increase is predicted to put millions into the economy but not one politician will tell us where those millions will come from. I have to state it once again that I truly believe I was better off making 75 cents an hour because the price of everything else was based on a lower wage.

Lane Hiltunen, of Windham, wonders if morons from outer space helping us might be a good thing.


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