In his letter Wednesday, Josh Teel stated that “power in Maine … is currently reliable” (June 9, Page A10). He couldn’t be more wrong. The U.S. Energy Information Administration tracks power outages across the nation. For 2017, Maine was dead last in reliability; in 2018, Maine was fifth from the bottom (in the bottom 10 percent), and in 2019, the latest data available, Maine was dead last again.

From 2010 through 2015, at a cost of $1.4 billion, about $2,500 for each customer, Central Maine Power invested in the Maine Power Reliability Program, to improve the transmission system, not the distribution system. In 2008, to convince the Maine Public Utilities Commission to approve the project, Sara Burns, then-CEO of CMP, stated, “If we don’t do this, the lights will go out in southern Maine.” Other experts in the field said that investment was far more than necessary.

The outcome, as reported in Forbes magazine in 2017, was that CMP’s earnings before interest, taxes and amortization increased by more than 120 percent. Yet, over 1 million CMP customers lost power in a 2017 October storm and Maine’s power reliability remains in the bottom 10 percent or worse. According to Electric Power Research Institute calculations, if CMP reduced its outages by 10 percent, the resulting economic loss to the state’s economy would be reduced by more than $100 million annually.

The policy of Jack Welch, the former General Electric CEO, was that dismissing the bottom 10 percent of employees was best for the employees and the company. It is best for Maine to dismiss CMP and Versant and move on.

Carlton Wilcox
New Gloucester

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