Lately, as we have been out knocking doors in support of Pine Tree Power, presenting everywhere from local fish and game clubs to student groups, and talking at forums across the state, one question has been on our minds: “Where are CMP and Versant?”

We’ve talked to thousands of Mainers who can’t trust our investor-owned utilities to keep the lights on. That’s a huge problem, and that’s why we keep showing up and working toward a solution with a “yes” vote on Question 3. In all our conversations so far, we haven’t seen CMP and Versant speak for themselves. They certainly haven’t brought forward any solutions.

If you’re like us, you’ve been inundated by messages coming in the mail, over the airwaves, and on the TV telling you to vote “no.” But Mainers still have a lot of questions about the kind of service we’ve been getting that the utilities won’t answer. Why do they spend hundreds of millions on political theater instead of fixing their worst in the nation service? What is their plan to save Mainers money?

Instead of answering these critical questions, CMP and Versant have chosen to hide from their customers. They’ve run their whole campaign through front groups and D.C. consulting firms to keep one dirty little secret. The entire opposition to Pine Tree Power has just two donors: CMP and Versant’s parent corporations. This shell game is meant to prevent the utilities from having to stand over their own horrific record.

Last year, we paid CMP and Versant more than a billion dollars. What did that get us? Well, we had the most frequent outages of any state in the nation, the worst customer satisfaction in the nation, and one in 10 Maine households were sent a disconnection notice. The math doesn’t add up.

And that’s exactly why Mainers across the state are so frustrated. We aren’t getting straight answers from the people CMP and Versant are hiding behind.

In last week’s televised CBS 13 News debate, the utilities sent someone to dodge questions once more. When asked about the $13.5 billion number being repeatedly broadcast to voters, she said: “I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to defend a number that is an estimate by people who are running the business.” CMP and Versant will not even show up to answer for the made-up cost they’ve spent millions broadcasting to Mainers.

The Pine Tree Power campaign is powered by thousands of Maine people fighting for solutions. It ‘s not right that anybody living on a fixed income could owe Versant more than $1,000. Mainers shouldn’t have to worry whether her bills are accurate. No Mainer should pay more to get the power delivered than for the power itself. If CMP and Versant are intent on dumping $35 million into the “no” campaign, shouldn’t they be able to voters their plan to fix things?

The “Yes on 3” campaign challenges CMP chief executive Joe Purington and Versant president John Flynn to an in-person debate on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., because Mainers deserve real answers.

Pine Tree Power has a plan to put Mainers first, save us money, reduce outages and bring back local control. We don’t think CMP or Versant do, because they always put their shareholders first. But how would we know? They haven’t had the courage to show up.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.