Millions of dollars are being poured into a statewide ballot initiative asking Maine voters to decide who should deliver electricity to customers in Maine.

Maine voters on Nov. 7 will weigh in on Question 3, An Act to Create the Pine Tree Power, a publicly-owned utility. If Question 3 is approved, Pine Tree Power would take over the assets of Central Maine Power Co. and Versant Power. Pine Tree Power would be run by a 13-member board. Seven would be elected and they then would appoint the six others members.

Quarterly funding reports, which were due to be filed with the Maine Ethics Commission by midnight Thursday, indicate that Our Power, a group supporting Question 3, is lagging far behind the two organizations opposed to the creation of the publicly-owned utility.

Our Power filed late Thursday night and reported more than $213,000 in cash contributions, a total of more than $448,000 for the year and $57,000 in cash on hand, according to the quarterly finance report filed with the Maine Ethics Commission Thursday.

Lucy Hochschartner said in a statement that more than 80% of its campaign donors have been Maine residents.

“Maine utilities are providing the worst-in-the-nation customer service, unreliable power and won’t stop raising our rates. In a desperate attempt to keep funneling profits out of Maine, CMP’s and Versant’s parent companies have poured millions towards buying Maine votes,” Hochschartner said. “I’ve been disappointed to see that their corporate shareholders care more about political spending than they do providing relief to struggling customers.


“Our grassroots coalition is confident voters see through the corporate interference in our election and will vote Yes on Question 3 this November.”

Maine Affordable Energy, which opposes the initiative, had received $3 million this quarter, $10.9 million for the year and had $1.4 million in cash at the end of the period, according to its quarterly finance report.

Reports filed with the state indicate that Avangrid Inc. and Clean Energy Matters were the campaign’s top donors. Avangrid, is CMP’s parent company and a subsidiary of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola. Maine Affordable Energy was formed in 2021 to oppose a public utility takeover.

“The biggest problem with Pine Tree Power is the cost,” Willy Ritch, spokesman for Maine Affordable Energy, said in a statement. “There are plenty of other reasons why their proposal won’t work, but even if all the other problems were to magically disappear you just can’t get past the cost. They want to put us billions of dollars in debt and the interest payments alone would be at least a half a billion dollars a year. That’s a lot of money out of the state to whatever big bank lends them the money and it gets us nothing in return except a debt we might never pay off.”

The second largest player in the Question 3 campaign is Maine Energy Progress, a political action committee formed by Versant Power and its parent company, Enmax, based in Calgary, Canada, which is the group’s sole funder. Maine Energy Progress also opposes Question 3.

Maine Energy Progress reported $5 million in cash contributions for the quarter, a total of $12.5 million for the year and $4.6 million in cash on hand.

To date, the most expensive ballot campaign in state history was the 2021 battle over Central Maine Power’s proposed New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line corridor, where spending topped $90 million.

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