Thank you for the story Dec. 5 on Page B1, announcing the Public Utilities Commission hearing on the proposed Unitil natural gas rate increase, at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Community Education Center. There was one other person from the public there besides myself. There were two people from the company and the consumer advocate. The meeting lasted 15 minutes.

Prior to the meeting, I asked the media representative from the company if there were any incentive for the company to reduce costs. He assured me that they had to compete with other energy providers, who, apparently, did not feel the need to be at the meeting.

After the meeting, I asked one of the commissioners if he knew that the wind blowing along the Maine coast was sufficient to generate all the electricity that Mainers could ever use. He said he did but since the wind does not blow all the time it would not be dependable. When I asked if the downtime could be supplemented by gas-generated energy or preferably hydro from Quebec, he shrugged.

For some reason, Mainers do not step up to advocate for ourselves. When I asked the commissioner about that, he speculated that utilities are too complicated for the average person to feel comfortable discussing. I agree.

James Michael Tierney


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