Berry Bill Buried - Mills vetoes bill calling for forced buyout of CMP and Versant Power

The governor calls the performance of Maine's electric utilities 'abysmal' but says the bill to form a consumer-owned utility was 'hastily drafted' could create more problems than it solves.


Supporters already have begun laying the groundwork for a separate, statewide referendum on whether to force Central Maine Power and Versant Power to sell their assets to a new Pine Tree Power Co.

The bill’s chief sponsor, Democratic Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, said he was disappointed by the veto following years of work by legislators, energy and utility experts, and others to craft the bill. Backers had picked up additional support by giving Maine voters the final say this fall on whether to create a consumer-owned utility and requiring Pine Tree Power to still pay local property taxes.

But Berry said he would be “very shocked” if supporters can muster the two-thirds majorities needed to override Mills’ veto next week

“The governor today chose not to trust the people on this important decision, but the majority of the Legislature does trust the people and wants the people to weigh in,” Berry told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Those changes were not enough to convince Mills, whose administration has been voicing concerns about the bill for weeks.

Proponents also said a consumer-owned utility would be better positioned – and more responsive – to implement the grid-scale changes needed to help speed the state’s transition to more renewable energy as part of ambitious climate-related goals set by Mills and the Legislature.

Opponents, meanwhile, warned that the forced buyout could ultimately cost upward of $13 billion in acquisition and legal fees, thereby saddling ratepayers with massive amounts of debt with no guarantees of lower rates in the future. They also said the new utility’s 11-member board – seven of whom would be elected – could be more subject to political influence.

“Governor Mills listened to both sides, read the bill carefully, and came to the same conclusion that many of us have come to – the proposal to seize CMP and Versant Power to create a government-run electric utility raises a lot of questions that don’t have any good answers,” Willy Ritch, spokesman for the group Maine Affordable Energy, said in a statement. “The governor is not alone in seeing the fundamental flaws in this proposal. Labor unions, the business community, mayors from across the state, and former Public Utilities Commissioners all spoke out against this bill.”

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Comment by Dan McKay on July 18, 2021 at 8:32pm

Berry is a Marxist, plain and simple. He intends to bring Maine to it's knees with his energy policy that will mean rationing, poverty and blackouts. He is the most evil man in Augusta, a man of no compassion for the working person He is a weak minded narcissist. He needs to be thrown out of power, cast to the ash heap of history along with Saviello.

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on July 18, 2021 at 5:36pm

Seth Berry is a narcissist to the tenth level with sycophant followers that attack those that disagree with the 'great Berry'. Yet he has accomplished nothing of value for the citizens of Maine. He was snubbed by Bowdionham selectmen  when they didn't buy his daddies run down decrepit barn for recycling. His career has been all about him, and he is useless. This was all about a lifetime appointment for him, the state government has never run anything efficiently, ever! They moved the gas tax into the slush fund(general fund) and now we see a hundred million dollar bond every time we vote! And with government run utility that's again what we would see. Bank on it!!!

Comment by Art Brigades on July 17, 2021 at 10:48pm

Seth Berry is an inept Ivy League pointy-headed pseudo-intellectual. He has never held a job, has never developed a callous on his hand, and has never had a clue. It's time, thanks to term limits, to say goodbye Mr. Berry. 

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"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."


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

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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