I read John Sahm’s recent missive (“CMP doesn’t have much control over costs, neither will PTP,” Aug. 30) with great interest. Why? His clear and concise insight into the practical factors influencing the distribution of electricity has created another layer of uncertainty with regard to Pine Tree Power’s guarantee to diminish power outages. In this context, can any utility accurately predict future costs when “PTP can’t stop trees falling, taking down power lines, drivers from hitting poles, ice storms or animals short-circuiting the system”? No.

Could any utility make better predictions of future electricity costs and potential distribution problems? If so, what mechanisms could be brought to bear to make more reliable predictions? Can economic models be utilized to provide this solution? In general, economic models are somewhat restricted to the analysis of past and current data, and not unforeseen circumstances, to predict future trends. With respect to PTP’s guarantees of lower electricity costs, “however, there are two variables of major and significant consequence which do not appear to have been factored into any economic model forecasting costs and availability of electrical power: the effects of climate change and the periodic occurrence of global pandemics” (From my guest opinion column, “What about the many unknowns facing Pine Tree Power?,” Portland Press Herald, Aug. 28). Has PTP anticipated these various practical and unforeseen costs when issuing their guarantees? No.

Given these unknowns, as I wrote earlier, “Maine citizens should demand a ‘plan of action’ by PTP, which addresses these many (aforementioned) concerns and specifically guarantees lower costs” (“If you break it, you own it,” Aug. 2). In addition, PTP’s plan should also provide an answer to: “there is no clear evidence that a private third-party operator (hired by PTP) would provide better customer service compared to the existing utilities,” e.g., CMP (report by the Maine Office of the Public Advocate, September 2023). Where is PTP’s plan?

John Mishler

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