STILL TIME TO ACT! LD 1513 Work Session carried over to tomorrow Wednesday 3/9/16

EUT Committee Co-Chairman Representative Mark Dion's bill to allow generators to be owned by affiliates of T&D utilities was given a sound thrashing at today's work session.   Witnesses representing utilities, consumer groups, generators, and the conservation of Maine's landscape all emphasized that there could be no "Code of Conduct" written that would prevent Iberdrola from profiting from its ownership of both CMP as the transmission company and Avangrid as the generation company in CMP's service area.   Ratepayers and competitors would be at risk, just as the Law Court decided in its first review of the appeal of the First Wind/Emera merger in 2012.  

Dion was unwilling to take no for an answer, and other committee members groped for suggestions to make the bill palatable, so tomorrow we can expect a further behind the scenes re-write of the bill and for Dion to do his best to get his committee members in formation behind the bill.  

It is not too late to send the committee members your thoughts about enabling CMP and Avangrid, both owned by parent company Iberdrola, to work together on transmission interconnect agreements,  which would be very difficult if not impossible for the PUC to scrutinize or regulate effectively.  Utilities and generators were separated in the best interests of competition and rate payer fairness in 1998.  Nothing has changed that dynamic.  The law should not be "tweaked" to provide "clarity", instead the legislature should await the verdict of the Law Court and, if inclined to consider changing the law afterward, they should then give this issue the in depth study that it deserves, instead of shooting at a moving target as is happening now.   

EUT Members' Legislature Email Addresses - all in one place

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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