And you’ll pay even more. Recently the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved yet another hike for electric ratepayers. Two years ago it was 19%. This year it's unclear whether it'll be a 4.1% increase, a 7.6% increase, or a 10.7% increase (See DOCUMENTS, below.)
The average Joe doesn’t pay much attention to energy policy, but guess what? We were told in 2010 that this would happen. That’s when the chief of the New England Power Grid told us, straight up and in plain English, that wind power would require billions of dollars in transmission lines.
"There aren't nearly enough wind farms even proposed yet to capture that much power, and delivering it would require spending $19 billion to $25 billion for new transmission lines," said the ISO's president and chief executive, Gordon Van Welie. But Maine started building wind turbines anyway, despite being one of the cleanest electricity generation states in the nation. Not only that, Maine legislators passed the new wind law, mandating that you cough up the dough, without even debating the bill!
The consequences? Since 2001 transmission rates have tripled for Maine residential ratepayers. Rates have quadrupled for commercial/industrial ratepayers. (See documentation from CMP, links below.) That’s because your light bill includes charges for electricity, poles & wires, and various surcharges. While the energy side of your light bill has fluctuated, it remains essentially the same as it was in 2001. But the billions to build massive "electric highways" are coming out of your pocket for unnecessary, erratic and unreliable wind power.
Get used to it, Maine. Unless policy makers change course, you will continue to pay higher and higher light bills to build infrastructure for needless wind turbines that only work 25% of the time. Meanwhile, at the northern end of New England, there are now no fewer than six major transmission line proposals that would deliver clean reliable, world class Canadian hydropower. Did Maine bet on the wrong horse? More on that soon --- stay tuned.
- Central Maine Power Residential Rates
- Central Maine Power Company, Distribution Revenue Increase and Average Residential Bill