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Maine utility critics plot public takeover of the state’s electric grid

MAINE STATE REP. SETH BERRY'S BILL ADVOCATING PUBLIC TAKEOVER OF MAINE'S POWER GRID SLATED FOR COMMITTEE HEARING THIS WEEK. Rep. Berry is a good man and a forward thinker. His landmark bill (LD 1646 ) would create a consumer-owned utility, give Mainers control over our State's power grid and deliver Mainers savings. (…).
Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, is a six-term legislator, Legislative leader and chairs the Legislature’s joint Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.
If the bill is voted out of the EUT Committee it will then go to the floor for action by the full Legislature.
This article provides additional background on the pioneering legislation (…/legislator-explai…/128293). Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Years of simmering frustration over power outages and transmission issues in Maine is fueling a pitch for a public takeover of the state’s electric grid.

"Maine records longer and more frequent power outages than any other state, according to federal data. The state’s investor-owned utilities blame the state’s rugged topography, but critics say the companies have underinvested in the grid infrastructure that could improve reliability and better accommodate renewables.

"Now, a bipartisan bill is proposing to buy the transmission and distribution infrastructure of Central Maine Power and Emera and create a new publicly owned utility to operate it…

"The proposal’s architects and supporters say the benefits of what they call a 'consumer-owned utility' are clear — Mainers would save money and it would create thousands of green jobs while vastly improving one of the nation’s most unreliable grids.

"It would also give Maine control over utility infrastructure, which is essential to quickly decarbonizing the state and meeting climate goals, said Rep. Seth Berry, the bill’s author. While Maine is now aiming to reduce its 1990 carbon emission levels by 80% by 2050, a consumer-owned utility could potentially halve that timeline, according to Berry’s calculations.

“'The key here is to understand that the grid is the foundation of our clean energy future,' he said. 'So control of the grid and the decision making process around it is critical.'

"LD 1646 would create a nonprofit called the Maine Power Delivery Authority that would purchase Emera’s and Central Maine Power’s infrastructure. Power plants and other generation sources would not change hands…

“'Shareholders are there to make a profit from the companies’ investments,' Ely said. 'In the model that Rep. Berry is putting forward, Mainers are the shareholders and our goals are not just lower cost energy, but really forwarding Maine’s clean energy goals, and that would be a breath of fresh air'…

"Berry’s proposal has at least some support on both sides of the aisle, including those who are concerned about climate change, as well as globalism and large corporations that 'control vital aspects of our lives,' Berry said. Meanwhile, the proposal would be a job creator at a time when the nation is teetering on the edge of recession.

“'All across the political spectrum, the stars are aligned, Berry said."

Maine utility critics plot public takeover of the state’s electric grid

Creating a publicly owned distribution utility could boost reliability and renewables, supporters of the proposal argue.