John Carroll of Central Maine Power recently said the proposed 145-mile transmission line known as the New England Clean Energy Connect “would save Maine customers between $40 million and $45 million a year for the next 20 years due to lower energy prices.” But, like everything else about this project, CMP is inflating the project’s benefits in order to garner public support and regulatory approvals. They even inflate the expected property taxes they’ll owe to the communities that will be directly impacted (“CMP touts benefits of power line project in Farmington,” July 16).

The Public Utilities Commission’s own expert consultants from London Economics International found CMP overstated the alleged benefits by 57 percent. Other experts in the PUC case found NECEC could easily lead to higher electricity rates.

For example, one economist argues that NECEC would “reduce property tax revenues from power generators statewide [and] could displace more jobs than are created … NECEC would produce negligible benefits and could even have a net negative impact.” The PUC should reject NECEC’s self-serving claims just like New Hampshire did for Northern Pass.

Another thing we’ve learned from the evidence at the PUC is that if NECEC gets built, Maine’s renewable power industry could be stymied. Building an extension cord from Quebec through Maine will have a direct and potentially fatal impact on one of our important local industries. The question is whether the benefits outweigh the costs. We know the natural resource impacts to Maine are profound and how can that be worth it if consumers are worse off, too?

NECEC is a bad deal for Maine ratepayers and our pristine natural heritage. And we obviously shouldn’t take CMP’s word at face value. Even CMP’s CEO, Doug Herling, admitted, “we’re the most mistrusted company right now” (“Under fire from all sides, CMP losing the power of its word,” Aug. 26).

Sandra Howard


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