Maine needs a not-for-profit consumer-owned utility

The Maine Legislature should enact and Gov. Mills should sign LD 1708, an Act to Create the Pine Tree Power Company. This bi-partisan measure would allow Mainers to vote in November to decide whether or not to replace CMP and Versant with a not-for-profit consumer-owned utility (COU), owned by Mainers and governed by an elected, nonpartisan board of directors. It would be financed by low-interest bonds costing three percent or less, a fraction of what utilities like CMP or Versant are charged. Under a COU, rate payers would save an estimated $9 billion dollars over 30 years.

A COU is not a new idea in Maine or across the nation. One-third of Americans get their their power from COUs. There are already nine COUs throughout Maine delivering reliable power to their customers at far lower prices than CMP and Versant charge.

Pine Tree Power Company is the best way forward for Maine to achieve its critical climate goals and for rate payers to finally have cheaper, reliable service, timely repairs, and expanded broadband service. CMP and Versant, two foreign-owned utilities, have failed us miserably in the past and predictably will fail us in the future. They are two of the worst-rated utilities in the country with some of the highest rates. And these rates will only escalate as Maine expands its power grid and converts to full electric power.

CMP and Versant are designed by law to serve the interests of their investors, not their rate payers. This monopoly right is not a perpetual right, and the state has the power to allow for their legal buyout.

We should not listen to the utilities’ CEOs and their highly paid attorneys, lobbyists and spin doctors, as they try to scare us and tell us what is best for us and our climate future. Tell your legislators and Gov. Mills to support LD 1708. We can and we must do much better to ensure our energy future, and achieve equitable, cheaper prices for all Mainers.

Faith Woodman,
Bath

Stop the CMP western Maine corridor

The people of Maine need to pay attention and see what’s really happening with CMP and it’s owners: Avangrid from Canada and Iberdrola from Spain. They think we are stupid, but they have underestimated the people of Maine!

They are pouring millions of dollars into flyers, paid spokespeople knocking on doors, television ads, and endless lawsuits. Most of what they are throwing at us are unproven, false claims.

For instance, their claim that the width of the corridor would be 54 feet in the previously undeveloped Segment 1 is an outright lie. A new cut going through Johnson Mountain off 201 south of Jackman is, in fact, 98 feet of clearcut, and it’s just the beginning. The potential for future expansion and destruction of our beautiful Maine lands has been suggested in past statements by their spokespeople.

These corporations are huge and they have a history of unsavory business practices. They don’t care about Maine or the environment. There are so many reasons the CMP Corridor should not happen. Please get the facts. More than 80,000 Mainers signed a petition to bring this issue to a statewide vote, and hundreds of Mainers, like myself, have volunteered countless hours to stop this unpopular project. We won’t gain a penny from our efforts to stop it. We will, however, still have the views of Moose River Valley, Cold Stream, Rock Pond, Greenlaw Cliffs and many,many other places of natural beauty left untouched. That is priceless! Please vote yes in November to reject the CMP Corridor.

Linda Lee,
Bowdoin

filed under: