Maine Affordable Energy Coalition


Thousands of Mainers, dozens of businesses and organizations have joined in opposition to takeover of CMP & Versant

September 28, 2022
For immediate release
Contact: Willy Ritch 207-841-8400 | [email protected]

The Maine Affordable Energy Coalition announced today that over 8,200 Mainers and dozens of organizations and small businesses have joined together to oppose a proposed takeover of CMP and Versant and the creation of a state-run utility. A group of activists has been circulating a petition to take the utilities by eminent domain and create “Pine Tree Power,” a quasi-government utility that would be run by a board of elected politicians, each serving six-year terms.

“From the Farmington Fair to the Maine Potato Blossom Festival to the Pirate Festival in Eastport–everywhere we go we meet Mainers who think seizing the state’s electric companies and running up a debt of $13.5 billion in the process is a pretty bad idea,” said Willy Ritch, Executive Director of the Coalition. “And the businesses and organizations that have joined us show how widespread the opposition to this proposal is: the Maine AFL-CIO, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, American Roots, Gritty McDuff’s, Governor’s Restaurant & Bakery, VIP Tour & Charter – the list goes on and it spans the political spectrum. But this isn’t about politics, it’s about fighting a proposal that would drive up our electric bills.”

Over 8,200 individual Mainers have signed pledge cards joining the coalition, and many of them have volunteered to put up signs, write letters and talk to their neighbors about their opposition to the utility takeover. Individuals from over 235 towns across all 16 counties have joined the Maine Affordable Energy Coalition.

“We joined the Coalition because we’re worried about what would happen to our electric bill if there is a forced takeover of the utilities,” said Richard Pfeffer, owner of Gritty McDuff’s. “It would cost billions of dollars to seize CMP and Versant and that money would have to come from somewhere. I think we all know that, in the end, it will be the electric customers and taxpayers picking up the tab.”

“Like any business in Maine, we are facing rising costs every day, and the last thing we need to do is put ourselves billions of dollars in debt to take over the electric companies,” said Jason Briggs, Senior VP for Business Development at VIP Tour & Charter Bus Company. “The price of just about everything has gone up in our business, and that’s presented a real challenge to businesses across the state. This is not the time to try and create a new utility run by politicians and saddle with a debt that will have to be paid off through our electric bills.”

Proponents of a takeover of the state’s private utilities are collecting signatures to force a statewide vote on their proposal next November.

A full list of Maine Affordable Energy Coalition members can be found here.