September 6, 2023
For immediate release
Contact: Willy Ritch 207-841-8400|[email protected]
A new TV ad highlighting the risks of the Pine Tree Power referendum hit the airwaves statewide today. In the ad, Jim Wright (famous for “no line is safe to touch, evah”) says “turning our electric grid over to the politicians behind Question 3 would be a disaster.”
The Pine Tree Power referendum—Question 3—would create a state-run power utility that would seize Central Maine Power and Versant Power. The new utility would be controlled by a board of elected politicians, with elections every two years. Each elected board member would represent about 150,000 voters. Not only could the candidates for the Pine Tree Power board accept campaign contributions from special interests—including oil and gas companies—but PACs and so-called “dark money” organizations could be set up to influence Pine Tree Power elections.
The cost of seizing CMP and Versant is estimated to be $13.5 billion—a debt that everyone would be on the hook for, possibly through higher taxes. In a letter responding to a near-identical proposal in the Legislature, the mayors of seven Maine communities said despite promises from Pine Tree Power proponents, “we are very worried about the very real possibility that critical property taxes paid by CMP and Versant to support essential municipal services will be diminished, or eliminated.”
The Maine Affordable Energy Coalition is a group of 140 businesses, organizations and labor unions. Over 11,000 individual Mainers have also joined Maine Affordable Energy to oppose the takeover of the state’s utilities.