While we may grumble about our electric bill, most of us take the idea of paying the costs of electricity to a specific power company each month as a given. But what if you could fire the utilities that are responsible for keeping your lights on if they do a bad job—or if they aren’t prioritizing climate change?
In November, Mainers will vote on a ballot initiative that could substantially change who controls their power—literally. If a majority of Mainers vote “yes” on Question 3, they would be able to replace Central Maine Power, or CMP, and Versant, two companies that supply more than 96 percent of Maine’s electric customers, with a new publicly owned power company. It would be a rare hostile takeover of the electric powers that be, which could set a model for other areas of the country to follow.
The campaign to replace CMP and Versant is being run by a grassroots group called Our Power. For years, Mainers have complained about outage and customer service issues from both of their big utilities. The new company, which would be named Pine Tree Power, would “bring back local control, save money, and reduce outages,” all while speeding the transition to cleaner energy.