We need more answers
Governor Mills is right to oppose Question 3 which asks voters to approve a hostile takeover of CMP by the state of Maine. Some in government are advocating that Maine take by CMP, our privately owned electric-utility provider by eminent domain. Clearly, with what we know now, those most likely to benefit would be legal professionals, investment bankers and politicians. There is little evidence that Maine businesses and taxpayers would profit from such a hostile takeover!
The proposal is an experiment with taxpayers’ money to acquire two unwilling sellers at a price to be determined through negotiations and likely litigation. The purchase price is speculative with wide ranging estimates from $5 billion to $13.4 billion. If approved, the legal parleying could take years at exorbitant costs to taxpayers with no guarantee the state would win their court battles. Before Mainers invest, shouldn’t they have a clearer understanding of the cost to assume ownership?
Some condemn CMP’s rate increases. Where I shop the price of goods and services are skyrocketing. Why would anyone expect that CMP would not raise its rates while the price of almost everything else has and continues to rise? Given that CMP rate increases must be approved by the PUC, should provide some trust that CMP is not price gouging. Historically, when states took control of their power companies, rates rose. When New York State and California took over ownership and operations of their power companies, the cost to the consumer of Long Island, many other New York cities/towns and most of California rose substantially. Given that history, would we expect our rates to decrease?
Another complaint heard is that CMP is partially owned by a foreign company, namely Spain. Many foreign countries including Canada and China, own shares in Maine companies and/or large tracts of land. A few foreign entities even also own some of Maine’s mineral rights. Given that other countries have a variety of business interests and ownerships here, why is CMP being singled out for this common practice?
So, I agree with Governor Mills and will vote No on Question 3. There remain too many unanswered questions about how the people of Maine would benefit from such a takeover.