Maine Affordable Energy Coalition


By 77%-to-23% margin, voters think government run electric company would be more costly

October 24, 2022
For immediate release
Contact: Willy Ritch 207-841-8400

A new statewide poll of likely voters in Maine found that an overwhelming majority believe a takeover of the state’s electric utilities would lead to higher electric bills. Voters were asked “Do you think your electric bill is more likely to go up or down if the state government takes over delivery of electricity?” Seventy-seven percent of voters said their bills would be “more likely to go up” and only 23% said they believed their bills would be “more likely to go down.”

The question was asked as part of Pan Atlantic Research’s regular statewide Omnibus Poll which surveyed 800 likely voters across the state from October 7th-15th.

“With the price of everything going up, the last thing we need is a government run power company that drives up the cost of our electric bills,” said Willy Ritch, executive director of the Maine Affordable Energy Coalition. “The cost of seizing CMP and Versant is estimated to come in at about $13.5 billion—a cost that we would all have to pay off through higher electric bills. Mainers get it and understand that seizing the utilities would mean more money out of their pockets.”

The polling comes as proponents of a plan to seize the state’s privately-owned utilities—Versant Power and CMP—are gathering signatures to force a statewide vote on their proposal next year. If their referendum passed, a new government-run utility would be formed that would take Versant and CMP by eminent domain. The utility would be run by a board of elected officials. (Both the US Supreme Court and the Maine Supreme Court have ruled that any organization run by elected officials is, by definition, a government organization.)

The Maine Affordable Energy Coalition is made up of over 9,000 Mainers and dozens of small businesses who have been joined by groups as diverse as the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine in opposing the proposed takeover of the utilities.

The 59th Pan Atlantic Research Omnibus Poll was conducted between October 7th and October 15th, 2022. Data were weighted using US Census Bureau targets to match the composition of Maine’s population based on Congressional District, age, education, and gender. The result is a sample of 800 likely voters, with a margin of sampling error of 3.5% at the 95% percent confidence level.