Few things are more “Maine” than Central Maine Power. The orange trucks, the heroic efforts of line workers striving 24/7 to get us back online during blizzards and nor’easters and, yes, safety commercials warning that “no line is safe to touch, evah.”

However, as a company, CMP has proven itself entirely uninterested in the needs and desires of Mainers. Rather, CMP has become like any other profit-maximizing corporation of our time: It cares more for its bottom line than it does for the ecological and economic health of Mainers.

For instance, CMP continuously serves its stockholders’ interests by blocking efforts to expand solar power in Maine. The more recent issue is the proposed 145-mile transmission line that would connect Quebec’s hydropower to Massachusetts. This line would be a blight on some of the best parts of Maine’s wilderness, including parts of the Kennebec River. Worse, the line would not benefit Mainers even a bit – the energy is not for us.

CMP and its parent company, Avangrid, discuss matters in financial terms: “We are executing on our strategy that will drive continued earnings growth,” says James Torgerson, Avangrid’s CEO. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the classic problem of our day: Corporations from outside controlling our governments and utilities to sap our resources in order to pad their bottom lines. This is not a wise economic move – it is disempowering madness.

Nearly 40 years ago, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher popularized the idea that “there is no alternative” to profit maximization as the guiding principle of our society. Well, let me repeat what scientists have been saying for the past 60 years: If we continue with “there is no alternative” as our guiding program, we will be left with a barren planet.

What if CMP stood for a noble purpose? What if it truly supported sustainable, clean-energy independence? I hope to see such a world someday.

Dan White


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