Maine legislators attempting to seize the state's power grid

As someone wrote to me about this:

"Berry is very progressive. He's been pushing this for a while and now it may go to a referendum vote. No one in their right mind would take over these unprofitable, capital intensive utilities. Versant would love to get their money back - they bought the damn company with a credit card. Avangrid would as well - CMP is a loser. They put the trans line in a separate LLC in prep for this move. The PUC is going to condemn these companies? How does that work? "

Dozens testifying on bill to create consumer-owned utility in Maine

Under the controversial proposal, regulators would direct a buy-out of Central Maine Power and Versant Power's infrastructure to create a nonprofit utility serving roughly 800,000 customers.

By Kevin Miller Staff Writer

Lawmakers were hearing hours of testimony Thursday on a controversial proposal to force a buy-out of Maine’s two major power companies and create a nonprofit, consumer-owned utility serving most of the state.

To supporters, the proposed Pine Tree Power Company is a way for residents to assert control over Maine’s energy future while lowering electricity prices and improving the reliability of the power grid. If approved by the Legislature, the bill would go to a statewide referendum later this year, allowing voters to decide whether to stick with Central Maine Power and Versant or make the historic transition to a consumer-owned utility.

Bill sponsor Rep. Seth Berry, a Bowdoinham Democrat and vocal critic of CMP, said Maine stands at a “historic crossroads” as the state strives to expand clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in part by converting to electric vehicles and home heat pumps. Berry talked repeatedly about Maine gaining “independence” from foreign, investor-owned utilities that he contends put a higher priority on profits than in investing in Maine’s power grid.

“Every month right now, the 800,000, captive combined customers of CMP and Versant pay monopoly rent for the use of a monopoly grid,” Berry told members of the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, which he co-chairs. “With Pine Tree Power, we will pay a lower monthly bill and, equally important, it will no longer be a rental payment but rather a mortgage payment. We will save money, invest in and improve the grid, and build our own equity.”

Roughly 90 people had signed up to testify on the bill, L.D. 1708. While the committee had yet to hear from opponents as of early Thursday afternoon, an aggressive and well-funded campaign has portrayed the consumer-owned utility as a “government takeover” of Maine’s electric grid that could cost up to $13.5 billion without improving service.

“Proponents of a government seizure of the state’s electric grid make a lot of promises, but when examined closely, the facts just don’t back them up,” Maine Affordable Energy Coalition said in a press release. “Supporters of the proposal cherry pick statistics from single years or use utilities with as few as 900 customers as examples to justify their claims that a government-run utility would be more reliable, cheaper, or cleaner.”

Please read the rest here:

Public power utility backers have hard path to Maine’s 2021 ballot

A proposal to create a consumer-owned public power company will get its second public vetting today. Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, saw his bill to create a company that would replace Maine’s biggest electricity providers weakened into a study bill last year as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the legislative season early. He is back, this time with the support of fellow Central Maine Power opponent Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford, with a proposal that would put the decision to create the company in the hands of voters. It faces a public hearing in the energy committee at 10 a.m. Listen here.

Continue reading at:


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Comment by Robert Feller on May 21, 2021 at 2:53pm

Maybe the masses SHOULD get what the demonrats oops, democrats want to see happen - all solar & wind and we'll see how long THAT lasts when you flip the switch and there's nothing there or better yet, try charging your iPhone via solar overnight.  The world isn't ending in 12 years in spite of what Ocasio-Cortez speaks of and polar bears are doing just fine these days thank you.  This Rep. Berry has the common sense of a bag of rocks and after spending 8 years working at a utility company, I don't care how he words his diatribe, if he gets his way it will be lights out and no, that wasn't a pun.

Comment by Kenneth Capron on May 21, 2021 at 12:15pm

I hope the public understand this when it comes to the polls. It will be a marketing battle for the trickiest wording the Berryites can come up with..

Face it - the renewable industry wants to be able to turn off CMP and force the purchase of renewables. I think the word needs to get out about the profits beings made by non-American sources for solar resources. Which also explains their resistance to recovery and reuse of solar panel materials.

The problem is that consumers (aka voters) are not the brightest lights on the tree.

Maybe I'm headed over the deep end, but are the aliens terror forming our planet?

Comment by arthur qwenk on May 21, 2021 at 11:32am

The "People's Republic of Maine" at work, Komrad!

Comment by Penny Gray on May 21, 2021 at 7:57am

We all know how successful government is at running businesses.  That alone should ultimately find this proposal dead in the water.

Comment by Willem Post on May 20, 2021 at 7:18pm

It looks like Central Maine is trying to unload an old hag of a grid onto gullible Mainers.

Mainers will overpay, for sure.

Then they will find they have to invest $billions, all over the grid just for it to be reliable.

Then they will find they have to invest more $billions to make it suitable for more and more of the variable solar and wind energy, that costs two to three times as much as fossil, and requires all sorts of expensive grid support, such as expensive batteries.

If Mainers are looking to get financially screwed over and over, this is the way.

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on May 20, 2021 at 2:38pm

Why Facts and Logic Fail to Break Through the Mental Shields of America’s Left
Have you noticed that the left in America seems to be even more detached from reality today than in years past? I have.

Comment by Robert Feller on May 20, 2021 at 2:34pm

Show me one time in our entire history when a governmentally run organization outperformed private enterprise.  If this complete act of lunacy ever happens it will completely destroy whatever reliable power we have grown accustomed to.  It is clear that Rep. Seth Berry is a prime example of the blind leading the inept and on top of that a democrat - fancy that?  Rep. Seth Berry has zero experience in the day to day operations of an electrical utility and obviously thinks it to be a walk in the park.  Having spent 8 years working for an electric & gas utility previously I have the knowledge to express my views based upon real world experience.  The good Rep. Seth Berry however shoots from the hip with zero experience and has started yet another feel-good political stunt without having anything to actually back up his argument, and guess who will ultimately pay for it?  Josef Goebbels coined the phrase that if you repeat a lie often enough it can become the truth and that is the definition of propaganda, something Rep. Seth Berry excels at.

Try to find any democratic sponsored bill/agenda that has been successful anywhere in any branch of any government in the entire USA; there are none.  Should this proceed, our electric rates will go through the roof and never come down and the service will be even worse.  Somebody needs to stop this lunacy before it goes any further.

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on May 20, 2021 at 2:20pm

Inside of every liberal is a totalitarian just dying to get out.


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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