The Pine Tree Power referendum proposes seizing Maine’s electric grid to create a new government-controlled electric utility. It would not only be astronomically expensive, it would take at least a decade to complete.
What seems like a better idea: spend the next decade litigating who owns the poles and wires? Or spend it working to modernize our grid for better reliability and to achieve the ambitious goals laid out in Maine’s Climate Action Plan?
Never has the scope and scale of what’s being proposed here in Maine even been attempted. The closest example would be when the Long Island Power Authority was set up to purchase the assets of the utility there. That sale was completely voluntary, and it still took 13 years to get LIPA set up and the assets transferred.
A comprehensive study on why government takeovers fail found that, since 2000, over 60 municipalities have tried or considered taking over a privately run grid. Only 11 have been managed to complete the transfer of ownership, and 2 have since been transferred back to private ownership. (Learn More)
At every point where something could go wrong to make it harder and longer and more expensive, it has.