On Jan. 28, a Maine Quaker group, Speaking Truth to Central Maine Power, demonstrated at the utility’s headquarters in Augusta. We planned to counter-lobby on the first floor of the building, in response to the extensive public and private lobbying that CMP has done in recent years against net metering, a system that gives individual energy producers fair compensation for energy produced. These producers already pay a fee to support power grid infrastructure.

Quakers are known for their peaceful approach to life. So we let CMP know what day we would be coming and that we would stay about an hour and a half. We planned to sing some songs about the sun and to display some homemade signs. When we arrived, the building’s doors were locked! What were they afraid of? We can only conclude it was the truth.

Studies have shown that power production by private citizens does not result in higher costs to the electric company. It can bring huge savings if, for example, it eliminates the need for a new power plant. CMP admitted before L.D. 1504 was defeated last year (one vote shy of overriding the governor’s veto) that the figures it used in its lobbying represented the worst-case scenario.

We were hoping Monday to convince CMP “to flip the switch” and decide to support L.D. 1444 this year. No one from the company came out to talk with us.

We are CMP ratepayers. A few of us have also installed solar panels, our personal effort to advance the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Folks who installed panels before 2018 are grandfathered. They will receive net metering for 15 years, so there is no immediate gain or loss for them. Our concern is for future generators and future generations. We hope that “shining some light” on L.D. 1444 will help it to pass this year!

Muriel Allen

Portland