Mainers vote against Pine Tree Power company

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Power lines(WABI)
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 10:38 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Question 3 on Maine’s November ballot is the most high-profile referendum.

“Do you want to create a new power company governed by an elected board to acquire and operate existing for-profit electricity transmission and distribution facilities in Maine?”

As of 10:54 p.m., 71% voted “no” while 29% voted “yes.”

Versant Power President John Flynn released this statement:

“At Versant Power, we’re glad that most Mainers agree it’s better to work together to achieve our energy goals rather than risk massive amounts of time and money on such a risky proposal. Mainers have placed their trust in us and we take that responsibility incredibly seriously.

“We remain laser-focused on doing what it takes to provide safe, reliable, cost-effective electricity service to our customers. Mainers can depend on us to continually improve our communications and service, help them find ways to save money, and be the utility they deserve and respect.

“Versant Power is fully committed to helping Maine accomplish our ambitious energy goals and strives to be a trusted partner in those efforts. With the campaign now behind us, we are eager to build consensus and momentum for meeting Maine’s energy and climate goals and delivering the best possible service and value for our customers. We hope Maine can move past the repeatedly failed idea of a government power takeover and instead build consensus and momentum for meeting Maine’s energy and climate goals.”

Central Maine Power released this statement:

“Fifty years ago, in 1973, voters in Maine soundly rejected a proposal to seize Maine’s electric grid and replace it with a political board (61 NO – 39 YES). Maine voters have once again overwhelmingly rejected this idea.

Next year our company will mark 125 years since our founding, and our commitment to delivering safe and reliable service remains unchanged. From our response to the 2022 Christmas storm, to exceeding our customer service metrics for more than three years running, to being voted one of Maine’s best places to work, our company remains completely committed to our customers, our employees, and to Maine.

With this referendum behind us, we are turning the page. As we look forward, we must continue to modernize our grid to support Maine’s climate change goals, connect new renewable resources, and electrify our communities.

Thank you to our 660,000 customers for putting their continued trust in Central Maine Power. We will have more to say in the coming days.”

Pine Tree Power’s campaign manager, Al Cleveland, made this statement:

“Maine’s vote is a message to utility shareholders everywhere: people are more important than your profits. Our grassroots campaign has talked with thousands of Mainers — it is clear that CMP and Versant are hurting people. With worst in the nation customer service, astronomical rates, and the most frequent outages in the country, Maine voters made clear that we deserve better.”