Maine Voters Reject Public Takeover Of Power Companies After Multi-Year Battle

Maine residents on Tuesday voted down a public takeover of the state’s two largest utility firms.

Maine residents on Tuesday voted down a public takeover of the state’s two largest utility firms.

Maine residents on Tuesday voted down an initiative that will have changed that state’s largest energy firms with a nonprofit, consumer-owned utility, The Related Press projected.

The measure — Query 3 — was the very best profile of eight referendum questions on the November poll, with homeowners of Maine’s two largest utilities, Central Maine Energy and Versant Energy, spending greater than $37 million to defeat the general public takeover. That quantity dwarfed the $1.1 million that the mission’s fundamental proponent spent, the Kennebec Journal reported

The referendum posed this query to voters: “Do you wish to create a brand new energy firm ruled by an elected board to amass and function present for-profit electrical energy transmission and distribution amenities in Maine?”

A “sure” vote was in favor of changing investor-owned firms CMP and Versant with Pine Tree Energy Firm, a nonprofit, customer-owned utility. A “no” vote was for retaining the established order. 

Query 3 in the end failed, regardless of Maine’s utilities persistently rating at or close to the underside amongst utilities nationwide for buyer satisfaction. CMP and Versant are subsidiaries of multinational vitality firms Avangrid and ENMAX, respectively, and account for 97% of Maine’s electrical energy distribution.

Latest polling foreshadowed the referendum’s defeat, discovering that 56% of Maine voters deliberate to vote in opposition to Pine Tree Energy, in comparison with 31% who deliberate to vote “sure” and 13% who had been undecided.  

The vote is the most recent in a multi-year battle over the way forward for Maine’s electrical grid. Opponents and supporters of Pine Tree Energy wildly disagree about what a public takeover would price, in addition to what it might imply for charges and grid reliability. 

Opponents of the measure, together with energy firms, labor unions and Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D), argued that approving Pine Tree Energy would saddle ratepayers with debt and inject politics into supply energy throughout the state. 

“The Pine Tree Energy scheme to grab Maine’s electrical grid by eminent area would create a government-controlled utility—and we might all be on the hook for the associated fee,” Maine Inexpensive Vitality, a coalition that opposed the takeover, wrote on its web site. “The debt that comes with taking up the utilities—an estimated $13.5 billion—is greater than twice the whole state funds. It might put us in danger for greater taxes or cuts to important companies we depend on.”

Supporters of the referendum maintained {that a} consumer-owned utility would in the end decrease charges, enhance reliability and supply the native management wanted to aggressively confront the specter of local weather change and meet renewable vitality targets. Additionally they disputed that the acquisition would price $13.5 billion, placing the worth tag nearer to $5 billion. 

The Pure Sources Council of Maine, an environmental group that endorsed the referendum, stated forward of the vote that Pine Tree Energy gave Maine its “finest likelihood for the management, low-cost financing, and correctly aligned utility incentives we have to speed up the clear vitality transition.”


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