I strongly support LD 1646, “An Act To Restore Local Ownership and Control of Maine’s Power Delivery Systems”, also known as The Consumer Owned Utility Bill. It is high time for Mainers to have access to locally-generated, locally-controlled electricity supply, because it makes sense.

Last summer, while on vacation in Glasgow, Scotland, I passed a building emblazoned with the words “SCOTTISH POWER” with a logo identical to that which appears on the monthly CMP bill. That is because both Scottish Power and CMP are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Spanish-owned transnational energy giant Iberdrola, which also operates in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Portugal, has assets in excess of 113bn Euros, and made a net profit of 3bn Euros in 2018.

Like CMP, Maine Natural Gas is also owned by Iberdrola, through its US subsidiary Avangrid. So much for CMP’s current claims that it is interested in replacing fossil fuels with what it claims are carbon-neutral projects. Like all of Iberdrola’s subsidiaries, both CMP and Maine Natural Gas are primarily interested in creating profits for the stockholders of their parent corporation, the largest of whom are, in order of investment significance, Qatari, Norwegian and Spanish.

Regardless of what their promotional materials claim, neither CMP nor Maine Natural Gas, nor for that matter any other Avangrid/Iberdrola subsidiary, is interested in its local customers as anything more than cash cow cogs in the enormous wheel of Iberdrola’s global holdings. Considering that CMP customers suffer from some of the worst electricity service records in the nation, it is clear that Maine can do MUCH better.

Our state has a burgeoning renewable fuels industry that has been fought tooth and nail at every step by representatives for the foreign-owned CMP. Because of regulations governing electricity supply companies in Maine, such companies can only make money by building infrastructure, leading to such boondoggles as the proposed CMP corridor project. Similar proposals have been rejected in other states due to environmental and other concerns.

It would be hard to imagine a more expensive, environmentally destructive and circuitous route than that proposed by CMP for that project, but when you consider that building infrastructure is how CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola make money, then the reasoning is clear. The problem is, that kind of reasoning doesn’t help Mainers, and only enriches the primarily Qatari, Norwegian and Spanish stockholders of Iberdrola and its global subsidiaries. Similarly, the foreign-government owned Hydro-Qu├ębec is also primarily interested in enriching itself and its stockholders.

As a citizen of Maine, I am hopeful when I see the wonderful, innovative work in the renewable electricity generation field being done by local Maine businesses. At the same time, I am deeply angered that these local companies, and by extension, Maine’s people, economy and environment, are being stifled and sacrificed so that far-flung foreign investors, who care nothing for Maine’s people, economy and environment, can profit from their Maine subsidiaries in the energy sector. I am frankly sick and tired of being a tiny customer-cog in the global wheel of Iberdrola’s gigantic energy portfolio.

Maine earned its political independence from Massachusetts 200 years ago. Isn’t it time that Maine declared its energy independence from the enormous, distant, Spanish multinational Iberdrola and other foreign-owned energy giants? Maine is a state, not a colony, and our electricity supply should reflect that. Maine people are perfectly capable of running our own energy utilities – utilities that will work by and for the people of Maine, rather than far-flung stockholders in foreign capitals.

Janet Lynch lives in Pownal.

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