I urge a “yes” vote this fall on the ballot initiative to create Pine Tree Power, a nonprofit consumer-owned utility. This would convert foreign-owned Central Maine Power and Versant Power to public power status.

I speak from 40 years’ experience as an energy and utilities analyst, including extensive work in the public power sector. Public power is time tested; it has been around for more than 100 years. Today, there are 2,000 nonprofit public power utilities serving 49 million Americans. The largest, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, has been providing electricity to the city since 1916 and now serves more than 4 million residents. That’s several times the population of Maine.

Public power utilities are financed by tax-exempt bonds at lower interest rates than the taxable debt of CMP and Versant. What’s more, CMP and Versant ratepayers must compensate the stockholders of those corporations at competitive stock market rates of return.

The CMP and Versant workforces would continue in their jobs, with better protection from corporate outsourcing to out-of-state contractors. Again, please vote “yes.”

Richard Wolfe

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