No time for half measures on utility reform



Dear Editor:

Many people from younger generations like me intuitively understand the importance of democracy and public participation when it comes to our system of government. We must hold out hope that the people in power will listen to a chorus of young, engaged voices on a host of issues, especially focusing on our future on a livable planet.

When it comes to Maine’s utilities, we need to tap into that same spirit of democracy and public engagement. Central Maine Power and Versant are not accountable to everyday Mainers and continually disappoint us with their high costs and poor service. CMP has ranked last in national utility customer satisfaction for four years straight!

The fact that these companies are failing us makes sense when we realize they are owned by companies located outside of our communities in Maine — and outside of the U.S. altogether.

Governor Mills has presented LD 1959, which promises to use the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to hold these utilities accountable. However, the bill as written maintains reliance on powers the PUC already has to improve and regulate Maine’s utility companies. Unfortunately, the PUC is unelected, unaccountable to Maine people, and has already failed to use its existing powers to address steadily growing costs caused by these companies.

When elected officials fail, Mainers can vote them out of office. But when utility companies repeatedly fail and the PUC fails to hold them accountable, we cannot rely on the democratic process to help us. This has to change. Instead of LD 1959, which only tinkers around the edges of the problem, we need a new system altogether. That’s why I instead support a statewide consumer-owned utility to replace CMP and Versant and allow Mainers to take control of our own energy system.

Ezra Sassaman

Bar Harbor

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