Much of the effort to defeat Question 3, the Pine Tree Power referendum, is focused on fear. In the guise of warnings about cost, reliability, and expertise there is one belittling aspect implied at every turn. It is a fear of our own power, meaning our own ability to self-govern, be inventive, and be self-reliant on Maine brain power.

Franklin Roosevelt’s insightful observation that “we have nothing to fear except fear itself” as he rallied us to face the Great Depression is applicable today. As we built resolve around being innovative to apply novel solutions to seemingly overwhelming challenges then, so should we today as we look to Maine’s power future.

Despite the fact that we all have enough full-page “Vote No” mailers to wallpaper our homes, we need to focus on the very essential detail that Question 3 asks of us: Do we want to empower ourselves and choose our own energy direction by creating a customer-owned utility directly accountable to us?

It is hard to hear that core question being asked when those who put it forth are being outspent by 44 times to one with a drumbeat of negative slick mailers, expensive TV commercials, and internet noise galore. Just one special interest is funding all that negativity — the power companies whose primary interest for decades has been their own profitability over customers. This unseemly amount of money being spent is to preserve an unsatisfactory status quo.

Every argument put forth in these unrelenting mailers from “no plan” to “stakes too high” to “threatens climate goals” is not only an extreme stretch but answerable with research on the Pine Tree Power website and diligent effort elsewhere. But CMP and Versant are betting if they can constantly yell 44 times louder at you than the calm voice of common-sense research that they will drown out any independent evaluations and comparisons.

A case in point is the opponents argument that non-experts will become in charge of our power system, implying that services will become unreliable. The reality is that the local, deeply experienced, Maine front-line staff who climb the poles and engineer energy delivery will remain in place. But honestly, we will lose some expertise; we will have to say goodbye to the profit maximizing, investor-first relations, service downsizing, feel-good marketing experts who export profits out of our state and country.


Being told we cannot do something because we cannot trust ourselves to choose good people to run a utility in our own interest under our own supervision instead of a foreign company should be something we can easily see through. But there is a lot of smoke from the repetitive, shotgun scatter, scare tactics being employed by the narrow interest campaign against Question 3. We need to tell them, our neighbors, and ourselves that no lie is safe to tell — evah.

There is another factor to consider: What is the outcome if Question 3 is defeated? It unfortunately means more questions without decent answers. Will our nationally lagging low service miraculously improve? Will we feel like we are not being price gouged all the time? Will a company resistant to many climate initiatives suddenly become heroically green? Will profits stay in the state strengthening our grid to benefit customers over distant investors? Will anything change for the better or will a limping status quo with Maine consumers as a withdrawals-only ATM remain in place?

Opportunities to control our own destiny are rare. We have an opening to instill Maine’s talent, work ethic, and self-reliance into a unique structure to serve our homes and businesses above other outside interests. The naysayer companies want us to believe this will be an unbearable burden when in fact it can be a great legacy that we can give to our future. I’m ready to place my faith and trust in talented Maine citizens, both elected by us and appointed to serve us.

Vote yes on Question 3. We should not fear our power.

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