Electric Power on the Ballot: Pros and Cons

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Video recording can be found here. Please see attached files for presentation materials.

This Election Day, November 7th, voters will be asked, “Do you want to create a new power company governed by an elected board to acquire and operate existing for-profit electricity transmission and distribution facilities in Maine?”

Maine voters will decide if a new quasi-municipal electric utility can take over Central Maine Power Co. (CMP) and Versant Power to become a regulated utility in the state.

If voters approve the ballot measure, the new regulated utility would be called Pine Tree Power (PTP). Half of the board of directors for this company would be elected by Maine’s voters, and the other half would be appointed by those elected directors. If passed, the effective date of the legislation would be January 1, 2025. 

Come hear two informed opinions on this issue from former public advocate Gordon Weil and State Representative Gerry Runte. We will explore the potential pros and cons of Pine Tree Power in a discussion moderated by Marina Mails, Executive Director of York Ready for Climate Action. The audience will have a chance to submit questions.

Gerry Runte’s 47 year career in the energy industry was equally split between the electric utility and emerging energy technology sectors. Gerry’s utility experience, with both investor owned and consumer owned utilities, included senior management roles in system and strategic planning, new business development, and regulatory affairs. In the emerging energy technology sector (primarily hydrogen energy and alternative fuels), he created, launched, and managed new organizations and business units, as well as evaluated potential investments on behalf of investors and sought financing for early-stage companies. Gerry holds a bachelors in Math and Chemistry and a masters in Nuclear Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He is now the Democratic Representative for Maine House District 146, which includes western York, the town of Ogunquit, and eastern Wells, Maine, and a member of the Joint Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology Joint Committee, as well as the Maine Climate Council.

Gordon Weil was Maine’s first Public Advocate.  He also represented and advised consumer-owned utilities and electricity customers across the U.S. and Canada for almost 50 years.  He led the New England negotiations to create the six-state integrated electric transmission system.  He has been  an expert witness at federal, state, and provincial regulatory commissions, including in Maine.  He was Commissioner of Business Regulation, Director of the Office of Energy Resources, and a Harpswell selectman and has been a weekly newspaper columnist since 2008.  He has an A.B. from Bowdoin College and a Ph.D. in Public Law and Government from Columbia University.