State Rep. Seth Berry plans to talk about the Pine Tree Power Company proposal on Nov. 18. Contributed photo

DAMARISCOTTA — Details of a proposal to create a nonprofit consumer-owned utility, the Pine Tree Power Company, are scheduled to be presented during the Lincoln County Democratic Committee’s online meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18.

This is an information session and not a forum for debate.

All Lincoln County Democrats and unenrolled progressives are welcome to attend LCDC meetings. Pre-registration is required for non-voting members to receive log on and phone in details. Register at lincolncountydemocrats.com/meet before noon the day of the meeting to ensure access. The committee also will do its best to accommodate last-minute registrations.

State Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, will provide an update on a citizen initiative asking voters to replace Maine’s two investor-owned corporate utilities, Central Maine Power and Versant, with a new nonprofit consumer-owned utility called the Pine Tree Power Company. The citizen initiative is sponsored by Our Power (ourpowermaine.org), a group of Maine ratepayers, business leaders, energy experts, conservationists, and others committed to putting the Pine Tree State’s energy future in the hands of Mainers.

Berry’s LD 1708, An Act to Create the Pine Tree Power Company, (legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280080894) passed the Maine Legislature with bipartisan support in June, but was vetoed by Gov. Janet Mills in July, citing conceptual support but specific concerns, urging lawmakers to revise the proposal and seek public participation. This initiative has refined the language and now plans to take it to the voters.

“This is not just about local control, lower rates and better reliability,” said Berry, according to a news release from the committee. “Above all, the Pine Tree Power Company will establish Maine as the nation’s leader in our fight to avert climate catastrophe.”

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Nationally renowned climate leader Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, has also endorsed the Our Power movement. “In our efforts to save our climate,” wrote McKibben, “the hour is late and the need is urgent. Maine’s proposal for a consumer-owned utility offers a model for transforming a nation and a world seeking solutions to the crisis of our era.”

Voting members of the LCDC will automatically receive the log on information by email. Those interested in becoming a voting member must be a registered Democrat in Lincoln County and may make their interest known by indicating such on the meeting registration form, lincolncountydemocrats.com/meet, or by emailing [email protected].

The final meeting of 2021 will be a short business meeting on Thursday, Dec. 16. Previously the organization had announced that there would be no meeting in December.

Information about the committee, its meetings and other activities can be found online at lincolncountydemocrats.com or on Facebook. Chris Johnson, LCDC chair, also can be emailed to [email protected].