John Mishler wrote a letter, “If you break it, you own it,” Aug. 2. He can find the guarantee he’s looking for regarding a consumer-owned utility, like the one Our Power Maine is promoting, by reviewing all the information at and He’ll learn that 97 towns in Maine, including Kennebunk, Houlton and Van Buren, are currently served by consumer-owned utilities, and that 28% of Americans are served by similar not-for-profit entities.

He’ll learn that when Long Island Power, a consumer-owned utility, took over Long Island Lighting in New York, electric rates dropped by 20%. And when Winter Park, Florida, switched to a consumer-owned utility, they were able to repay the acquisition costs in 10 years. The five highest-rated utilities in the country are all consumer-owned.

On average, Mainers are charged 49% more than customers of consumer-owned utilities. We are currently paying the 10th-highest residential electric rates in the country. And CMP and Versant stand out in terms of poor service.

This is not a government takeover. An elected board representing all stakeholders and including those with the needed expertise will operate Pine Tree Power.

As regulated utilities, CMP and Versant are guaranteed a minimum profit. As public companies, they answer first to their shareholders, not the public. So if increasing share price and value to shareholders is the focus, making necessary investments in a more resilient grid or in clean power alternatives likely becomes less of a priority.

Pine Tree Power’s sole focus will be to provide reliable power delivered as economically as possible. Making investments to create a more resilient grid will help to achieve those goals. And because it will be a nonprofit, it will be able to access capital for improvements to our grid system at lower costs.

What’s not to like?

Mary Ann Larson

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