As energy prices rise, thousands of Mainers at risk of losing power

No mention in this article of the natural gas pipelines being blocked. Maine sits remarkably close to massive natural gas deposits, e.g., in PA and NY, but needlessly suffers because new pipelines have been blocked by Massachusetts and New York. Ideology and stupidity are going to get people killed.


More than 2,000 Maine households have been disconnected over the past month, and tens of thousands more are struggling with past-due balances.

By Hannah LaClaire   Staff Writer

Tens of thousands of Mainers have struggled to pay their electric bills over the past two years, resulting in thousands of service disconnections, hundreds of thousands of past-due notices issued and tens of millions of dollars in utility revenue lost.

Federal and state financial aid, coupled with seasonal and pandemic-related disconnection moratoriums, have helped keep many Mainers connected to the grid. Both Central Maine Power and Versant Power, the state’s two largest electric utilities, are reporting fewer disconnections and overdue bills through early May compared with the same period a year ago.

But it’s not all good news. With much of the aid running out, pandemic-related moratoriums no longer in effect and utility bills rising to new highs, the struggles to keep the lights on could worsen for many people.

Each fall, the Maine Public Utilities Commission conducts a competitive bid process to lock down the “standard offer” electricity supply for the year ahead. The majority of Mainers buy their power at the standard offer rate, and they were jolted in January when rates shot up from roughly 6 cents per kilowatt-hour to nearly twice that amount in Central Maine Power and Versant Power service areas.

The price increase, driven largely by rising natural gas prices, has added about $30 a month, or $360 a year, to the average Maine household electric bill. CMP, the state’s largest electric utility, serves roughly 640,000 customers across the state, while Versant serves about 160,000 customers in eastern and northern Maine.

While early projections were hopeful that the price increase would be temporary, that expectation has been replaced with the reality that “forward” prices energy traders pay for natural gas and electricity contracts for delivery next winter aren’t easing and are likely to remain high at least into 2023.

At the same time, with inflation at a 40-year high, families are paying more for food, fuel and housing, leaving many with less left over to pay their natural gas, heating oil and electric bills.

A 2019 study by the Maine Office of the Public Advocate in found that low-income households spent, on average, 19 percent of their income on energy costs. With those costs now nearly double the 2019 amount, that 19 percent could be closer to 40 percent now, said state Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham....................................

..................................Disconnections and arrears are down at both CMP and Versant, but the amount owed and the number of people who need help paying their bills seems to be rising.

At Versant, the average overdue bill has more than doubled, from $251 through April 2021 to $563 through April 2022. There are 12,181 customers on payment plans, up from 10,602 at the end of 2021. The data was not tracked monthly until recently, so a month-to-month comparison was not available.....................................Berry is an organizer of the Our Power campaign, which aims to establish a consumer-owned utility in Maine to replace CMP and Versant through a citizen referendum.


He said the current situation only underscores the “dire need” for serious reform to the state’s electricity system. If Maine is to achieve its climate change goals, it’s crucial that the cleaner option be less expensive than fossil fuels, he said...........................

Staff Writer Tux Turkel contributed to this report.

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Comment by Long Islander on May 24, 2022 at 4:15pm

Environmental board reschedules hearings on CMP corridor for July

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on May 22, 2022 at 11:49pm

More Evidence Suggests “Global Warming Ran Out of Steam” Years Ago – Experts Argue Global Temps Have Remained Flat For 20 Years

Comment by arthur qwenk on May 22, 2022 at 5:49pm

Remember this Mainers.

It is  puppet Biden's fault and his leftist commie dem. handlers.

The Green Horror is curable though, November is approaching, and LePage is running.

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on May 22, 2022 at 5:13pm

Seth Berry is a troll that has his intentions of running his grandiose owner run utility. He is actually one of the orchestrators of this boondoggle pushing every green new deal that came up. Forcing CMP and Versant to hook up and buy the solar and wind electricity at 400 to 600% higher cost than the standard rate! He's a closet tyrant communist that has a plan for taking care of himself and to hell with the rest of us! He's a pasty faced Obama that has his followers attacking those that disagree or run against him. Beware the man behind the curtain and his flying monkeys!

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on May 22, 2022 at 12:24pm

In 2022, there’s a famine in the land for truth and justice, but for the New York Times all is well. Inflation loots the savings of the people. Energy costs and crime are surging but infant formula is in short supply. The ruling junta quashes free speech, vilifies the people, and supports violent groups that menace lives and property.

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on May 22, 2022 at 12:11pm
Comment by Penny Gray on May 22, 2022 at 12:01pm

Get building those modular next-gen plants.  Should've started ramping up nuclear decades ago.


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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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."

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