Mainers spent $50 million they didn’t need to on electricity

"It would be nice if
The BDN would study all the money we've lost through wind and its transmission"

That would be ? Investigative Journalism !

PORTLAND, MaineMaine households have unnecessarily spent about $50 million on electricity over the past four years, through a controversial competitive market that purported to offer savings.

In 2015 alone, Maine customers of “competitive electricity providers” paid a premium of $32.4 million for their power, over and above a default price set by state regulators on behalf of consumers.

That’s in addition to a total $20 million such customers could have avoided from 2012 to 2014 if they had stuck with the default price, as reported in an August investigation by the Bangor Daily News. Our investigation used federal data to compare default electric rates to prices in the competitive market.

The data give a sense of how the prices compare in aggregate but don’t necessarily show that all customers of competitive suppliers would have been better off getting the default price during these years.



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Comment by Paula D Kelso on November 17, 2016 at 10:35pm

Hubby was an electrician in the service. Lot of work in Capehart (base housing then) and tending the runway lights at Dow. [He used to play dodge 'em with his utility truck and the landing bombers on the runways.] Been very handy electrical knowledge for the last 50 years but he leaves the major - new breaker panels, wiring the new addition, kitchen and bath reno's - work to the licensed guys. Don't know what he did yesterday and not asking. He had to make two trips to Lowe's but I guess it works now.

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on November 17, 2016 at 3:10pm

My comment on loose connections, is FACT, though not to panic, but to remember to address a potential problem. It is at the connection points........... breakers, junction boxes, outlets that are the highest concern. Just a quick tightening, not an over exertion.  Visual inspection, suspicions, discoloration of outlet plates and maybe others are starting places.  Important is to keep these in mind to check when increases of power usage are un-explainable. 

I hope he installed the appropriate switching gear to isolate it from your house panel. Or made the furnace a Cord and Plug connection device such as a blender to be powered by the generator.

Any power from the generator at 120V going back onto the line, can become upwards of 57,000 V for the linesman working outside on the utility.

I hear 'ya' on feeding a wood stove............  

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on November 17, 2016 at 2:53pm

The 938 was from a government link but from EIA It is a bit more since my last viewing 

How much electricity does an American home use?

In 2015, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,812 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 901 kWh per month.

Comment by Paula D Kelso on November 17, 2016 at 2:29pm

That 938 sounds more reasonable than the 550 they use to calculate how many homes a wind turbine will furnish electricity. Even if it's more like 800 kw, that would be about 45% fewer homes than they claim. Unfortunately when I used a program analysis and plugged in the data on our own sources of electric use it does add up to about 1000 for our usage. Keep two freezers full or make more trips to the store? High electric use, low gas use. It's all choices we make. Live in town, live rural? Higher taxes or lower taxes? But I want to make the choices, not have someone else make them for me. 

And Eric, you've given me another worry for our 1860's home, loose connections. Most of it has been updated in the last 20 years and we never had that bad kind of wiring. But it would be quite a lot of wiring if you strung it all out and measured it and figured in all the outlets. And I won't mention to hubby any checking the electric panels, he spent a couple hours yesterday wiring in a new box to directly run the furnace off the emergency generator. Neither of us can move after trying to feed the wood stove for a day. Choices we make.  

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on November 17, 2016 at 1:39pm

@Anyone concerned

The average across the nation (last researched) is about 938 Kwh per month. Which I guess includes electric heating as homes that I know of in Maine with other sources of heat (we poorer folk) are around the 4-500 Kwh per month. 

If you believe your electric consumption is excessively higher than it should be for what you are using, it may be time for a review of your electric panels balance of the load.  Sometimes circuits need to be rewired to balance the load. Also another potential increase is loose wiring at breakers or electrical outlets. Not only can they cause fires in the home but also before such a tragic happening they can cause an increase in current draw, (loading). Remember, the meter spins for the amount of current, and for the higher of the two sides not accounting at all for the lower side of the load. (have a qualified person do this inspection or tasks required)

Even a Balanced load such as a Dryer (240v) appliance can have an imbalance if there is a loose wire. In industry, we checked for loose wires annually on equipment, and from experience I suggest 5 years for homes, especially on high consumption items.

I have found trailers, to have wires so loose that just touching them, they fell from the breakers. Close Call with the wire partially burnt !

This is another method of wasted energy, other than more efficiency in our homes. Hidden and forgotten, as with remote control devices or appliances. 

Comment by Paula D Kelso on November 17, 2016 at 11:57am

What gripes me is how they're always saying average of 550 kw per month for a household. We're just two old people and we average about 1000 kw a month. No propane or gas appliances, all electric. The commenter who says his bill is $45 a month for a 3 bedroom home and his mother-in-law does her laundry there too, it just doesn't add up unless there's a lot of non-electrical energy somewhere. I did a electric usage analysis. When you add in a submersible well pump, an electric hot water heater, the circulating pump on the propane boiler, etc. etc. you come up with more than 550 for sure. Not to mention electric instead of propane stove, electric clothes dryer. Sure that's a choice we make but aren't we supposed to choose clean electricity instead of oil furnaces, etc? We had an electric furnace in Oregon in the '70's when the cost was about 3 cents per kwh and the temp rarely went below freezing. Not trying to justify my 1000 kw per month, just wanting acknowledgement that you have to get energy from somewhere and so why not talk about energy consumption overall. Some sources are better for different reasons and we all make choices and we should be free to do so and keep our eyes open when we do.

My cousin called me to get my advice when she got one of those competitive offers and I advised her to stick with the standard offer. Glad she did. She had very limited income and it made no sense to gamble.

Comment by arthur qwenk on November 17, 2016 at 8:38am
The U.S. Geological Survey says it has found the largest continuous oil and gas deposit ever discovered in the United States. On Tuesday, the USGS announced that a swath of West Texas known as the Wolfcamp shale contains 20 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That is nearly three times more petroleum than the agency found in North Dakota's Bakken shale in 2013. -- Rebecca Hersher, NPR, 16 November 2016 


Comment by Eskutassis on November 17, 2016 at 8:31am

It would also be nice if they would include the decline in property values for those that live near industrial wind sites. And the cost of wildlife disruption, and erosion control, and loss of quality of life, and what it will cost us to tear them down when they become irrelevant.  Some of these things may be hard to measure, but would make the amount BDN's estimate look like PENNIES. 

Comment by Dan McKay on November 17, 2016 at 8:05am

Don't overlook the $19.5 million and $11 million Maine electric customers will pay for system benefit charges and carbon taxation in 2016.

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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