Lawmakers hear public input on public-owned utility in Maine

The bill would allow Mainers to vote on the Pine Tree Power Company.
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:06 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A legislative committee heard public comment today on an effort to create a consumer owned utility in Maine.

The bill would allow Mainers to vote on the Pine Tree Power Company.

Supporters says the nonprofit, consumer owned utility would create lower cost, locally controlled, more reliable, and cleaner electricity.

Those in favor of the bill say Maine has the 10th highest rates in the country and some of the worst and longest outages.

“I just think that our incumbent electric providers, CMP and Versant, have just failed, and it’s the ownership model that’s failed, having foreign corporations and foreign governments own our infrastructure has proven disastrous,” said Sen. Rick Bennett of Oxford.

“The entire network has become globally owned. What we have before us is a voice in the parent company, the benefit of their economic resources that can be used to improve our grid,” said David Flanagan, Executive Director of Central Maine Power.

Those against the initiative say Maine already gets 80% of its power from renewable sources.

Central Maine Power says the estimated cost to seize the assets of CMP and Versant would be at least

$13 billion and would likely end up in a legal battle that could last for years..

A link to the full public hearing can be found here.

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