Maine Power Delivery Authority: lower-cost electricity for Maine’s future
Two weeks ago, the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology received a major briefing on Maine’s energy future. To meet our state’s energy goals, according to Dr. Richard Silkman, we must triple our use of electric power.
Dr. Silkman is Maine’s foremost authority on energy financing. Over the next 30 years, he estimates that our electric delivery system – commonly known as the “grid” – will need new investments of $10 billion to $15 billion. If CMP and Emera own the grid, as they do today, they’ll borrow most of the money at around 8 percent a year. Their enormous costs will be passed along to us, their customers.
As a non-profit entity, however, MPDA would be able to borrow at only 3 percent. Over 30 years, that lower rate reduces our cost by at least $5 billion. We simply can’t afford to pay for CMP’s and Emera’s higher interest loans and also meet our goals for better service, greater reliability and a low-carbon energy future.
The choice is ours: we can pay for lower-cost, carbon-free energy delivery in Maine. Or we can pay CMP and Emera to build a much more expensive system and bury the cost in our monthly bills. We can’t do both.
A copy of Dr. Silkman’s report can be found HERE (PDF).
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Opinion from around the state:
1. “Energy regulators gave $500K contract to company that should have been ineligible”
The PUC hired consultant London Economics International to study Maine’s electric grid. But LEI shouldn’t have received the $500,000 contract because it had also worked for Emera Maine within the past five years – violating the PUC’s rules. Can LEI give an unbiased, independent analysis of the proposed Maine Power Delivery Authority?
2. “Maine Voices: Public power proposal offers opportunity to match, top MEMIC’s success”
Dick Woodbury, Yarmouth
Just like the Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Co., the Maine Power Delivery Authority would be a private enterprise, neither government-run, nor taxpayer-funded. It would be managed by industry professionals and overseen by a board of Maine-based ratepayers. And it would be capitalized by private borrowing, not government borrowing, using its future revenues for collateral.
3. “Commentary: A consumer-owned utility could invest in Maine’s economy”
Thom Harnett (Gardiner) and Joanna Bozuma (Washington)
What should Maine’s energy future look like? A consumer-owned utility would put Maine residents in charge of their energy future. It would also benefit the state economically by keeping Mainers’ money circulating in local communities longer while keeping electricity costs low.