Monday, 29 January 2018 23:57

Four arrested while protesting CMP's "unfair" stance on solar Featured

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AUGUSTA - Four people were arrested Monday afternoon during a protest at Central Main Power Headquarters.

Activists say CMP is working against public interest when it comes to solar energy, but the power company told ABC 7 & FOX 22 it's trying to protect customers from unfair solar costs.

"If you don't leave, you're going to be arrested," an Augusta police officer told protestors on Monday.

"We're not leaving," one of the protesters said.

As a result, four protesters were handcuffed Monday outside CMP headquarters in Augusta .

"To lock the building and call the police was more than we were expecting," said Nathan Broaddus, an activist with Portland Friends Meeting.

Nathan Broaddus is one of a handful of activists hoping to bring awareness to what he says is the power company's effort to undermine solar power.

"Our intention was to lobby the lobbyists, go to CMP and create a dialog to ask them to halt or reverse their lobbying efforts against solar power in Maine," Broaddus said.

The activists want CMP to support bills that maintain the state's net metering rule, which gives solar providers credit for energy they put into the grid.

The activists say when CMP lobbies against bills on solar energy, they're ignoring public interest.

"To oppose a tool in out tool box to address climate change is short sighted," said Broaddus.

But CMP insists supporting net-metering would be unfair to customers.

C-m-p sent ABC 7 & FOX 22 this statement: "The costs to maintain the energy grid do not decrease as more customers use solar power....Revenues not paid by people who receive private solar credits need to be collected from other customers."

While the company believes solar providers should indeed be compensated for the energy they add to the grid, they say that compensation should not come out of the pockets of others.

Still, activists say they're frustrated with the power company's refusal to speak with them Monday.

"It goes to show how nervous they are about what the public will say," Broaddus said.

The activists arrested on criminal trespassing charges have since been released and will appear in court at a later date.

Protesters say they'll continue their fight.

"I hope they see the light," said Broaddus.