I am the person quoted in last week’s column (“Commentary: In debate over Pine Tree Power, utilities should speak for themselves,” Oct. 26) which attempted to denigrate my comments and suggested that CMP or Versant should themselves appear in opposition to this risky gamble.

The vote on Pine Tree Power should not be viewed as a way to “punish” CMP or Versant Power. This question is whether or not it is a good idea for consumers. And it is consumers that I have represented my entire professional career. It is up to Pine Tree Power sponsors to defend their proposal as good for consumers. And it is not good for consumers.

This proposal will saddle electric consumers with between $9 billion and $13 billion in debt to be paid for 30 years. A generous interest on this bond is 5%, resulting in a $450 million or more in annual interest payments. These payments are far in excess of current earnings allowed under rates approved by the Public Utilities Commission. Our electric rates will go up the minute this proposal is enacted.

This proposal requires the elected politicians to hire an unknown operating company that will earn a profit. This campaign must be viewed from the lens of consumers and rates for essential electric service and not used as a means to punish CMP’s stockholders. The proponents can’t defend their proposal without throwing stones at those who have spent years protecting consumers and fighting for affordability.

Barbara Alexander

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