AUGUSTA — Some state legislators are trying to replace Central Maine Power and Versant Power with a nonprofit consumer-owned utility company.
According to some lawmakers, companies like Versant Power and CMP have created a monopoly in the state of Maine.
Democratic Rep. Nicole Grohoski of Ellsworth said Maine has the most and longest power outages in the entire country.
Sharon A. Staz, former general manager of Kennebunk Light and Power District, described how the proposed utility would work.
“Pine Tree Power will be completely separate from the state, just like our existing nine COUs,” she said. “It will be a nonprofit owned by customers but operated in the private sector.”
Lawmakers said right now, Mainers are paying double what they should and their money is headed to foreign countries, such as Canada and Spain.
“Maine deserves a utility company that puts Maine people and local small businesses first not profits for big transnational corporations,” said Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford.
Versant Power said in a statement that a government power takeover will threaten its ability to do the work citizens demand.
“It’s imperative that we as a state look at the models that have worked as we look at crises that are moving forward,” said Vaughan Woodruff, founder of Insource Renewables.
Central Maine Power said in a statement that if the legislature approves this effort it will be costly to Mainers and cause problems because politics are involved.
Some legislators said a consumer-owned utility company will save Mainers $155 million a year and it isn’t about politics but about a future for sustainable energy and reliable electricity.
To find out more information on the bipartisan legislation to create Pine Tree Power Company, go to ourpowermaine.org.