The headline on the Jan. 21 editorial page, “Government control of Maine energy grid won’t work”, caught my eye, because it’s so typical of the scare tactics used by big business.

Whenever business people start using words like “government takeover” or “socialism,” I find that it usually means they’re afraid that some new development is going to eat into their profits. They’ve worked hard to earn their billions, acquiring an ever-bigger share of the market, lobbying for favorable business laws, and making sure their customers have no other choice but to keep on making them rich, no matter how lousy the service is.

So the threatened business writes things like this, describing the proposed Pine Tree Power as “a government-owned utility controlled mostly by elected politicians and operated by a for-profit contractor,” which isn’t the case at all: the bill creating it actually calls for it to be “a privately operated, nonprofit, consumer-owned utility controlled by an elected board” — elected by, and only answerable to, the consumers that they serve.

How else do I know that this column is provided by big business? Consider the source: one of the two authors is Tom Kuhn, identified as “president of the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies.” In truth, the Institute’s membership also includes certain foreign companies, and one of them is Iberdrola, the multinational corporation in Spain which owns Avangrid, which owns CMP. Iberdrola is indeed an “investor-owned” company, which means its highest priority is to make money for its investors, not to provide good service to its far-off customers here in Maine. After all, it has no competition, so how can it lose?

Yes, it will take years to buy out CMP. But if we don’t start the process, we’ll never know what’s possible.

 

Claire Prontnicki

Waterville

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