The work session on LD 1513 introduced a completely re-written bill which has not yet been published on the EUT website. Co-Chairman Dion, one of the sponsors, defended his role in allowing only proponents of the bill to work with the EUT's policy analyst to draft the "amended" bill. The EUT will allow opposition to this bill to be heard at its next work session on Tuesday. Please email the Committee members if you cannot attend the work session in person.
According to Mitch Tannenbaum, counsel for the PUC, the issue at stake boils down to this: Can affiliates of T&D utilities own generation assets in the service area of the T&D, and if so, what sort of "Code of Conduct" can the PUC impose on the utility to insure that affiliate ownership of a generation asset does not cause the utility to make business decisions that profit the utility or parent company by showing favoritism to the affiliate's generators. Tannenbaum admitted that no Code of Conduct could guarantee compliance.
Not to be dissuaded by that fact the PUC has nevertheless agreed to draft a Code of Conduct. One of the elements of the Code of Conduct that has been discussed by the PUC is that employees cannot be shared between the T&D and the affiliate. When then Governor Baldacci hosted CMP's parent company Iberdrola's CEO Igatus Galan in 2009 the CEO made it clear that owning wind generation in Maine was its goal:
"If Maine signals that it’s no longer friendly to wind power, he said, the global energy company will expand elsewhere.“We will be involved in this state once the transmission line is completed,” Galan said, “if the framework is here.”Galan made his comments to The Portland Press Herald before a news conference and celebration to kick off CMP’s Maine Power Reliability Project".
As Long Islander has mentioned in previous blog posts, it is pretty obvious that the CEO of Iberdrola, who presides over CMP as well as Avangrid (formerly Iberdrola Renewables), is an employee who is shared between these two entities, and therefore an inescapable conflict of interest exists. The EUT would be negligent if it ignores this plain fact. Likewise the PUC should see this conflict as a showstopper for its proposed "Code of Conduct".
Underlying this issue is of course the insane policy that is allowing wind turbines to spread throughout Maine's landscape. None of the current EUT members voted for the Wind Law in 2008, so they should not feel any sense of ownership or loyalty to this atrocious piece of legislation. Hopefully independent thinking will enable the EUT to do the right thing.
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