A recent SurveyUSA public opinion poll shows that 75 percent of registered Maine voters support the idea of replacing Central Maine Power and Versant Power with a local, nonprofit, consumer-owned electric utility. Now it is up to Maine legislators Wednesday to vote “yes” and give us an opportunity to vote for Pine Tree Power Co. this November.

Why does Maine need a customer-driven utility? Well, for one thing: Power outages. In my first two years living in midcoast Maine, we lost power more times than in 20 years living on a dirt road in Sanbornton, New Hampshire.

CMP’s poor electricity reliability is legendary and true: Maine has the least reliable power companies in the nation. It should come as no surprise that CMP and Versant also came in last for customer satisfaction in the 2020 J.D. Power utility survey.

There’s another thing you’ve probably noticed: Climate change is upon us, and it doesn’t look good. We can’t reach Maine’s renewable-energy goals without major support from our utilities. I am not aware of any effort on the part of Maine’s utilities to help bring more Maine-made clean, renewable energy online.

If L.D. 1708 passes, it will allow us to vote this fall to decide if we want a nonprofit, consumer-owned and Maine-based utility instead of the foreign government- and investor-owned utilities we have today. I strongly urge a “yes” vote by legislators Wednesday and by the rest of us at the polls this November.

Marty Fox

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