To the Editor:
I subscribed to the Islander in preparation for a fall camping trip to Blackwoods. My thoughts of another wonderful visit to Acadia National Park took a bad turn when I read a letter in my first Islander extolling the virtues of the electric transmission line slated to cut a scar in Maine woods to service a contract signed by Massachusetts utilities.
I am one of those customers who will be forced to pay for this $15 billion purchase.
While perhaps not a concern to Maine residents, the contract is a $5 billion loser for customers of Massachusetts’ investor-owned utilities. That’s based on a straightforward “with and without” analysis, and not the economic gymnastics used by utilities.
This line did not emerge from any regional deliberative process and is unnecessary for reliability purposes. And the power contract does not provide reliability as conventionally measured in power markets. The arrangement is detrimental to the region’s competitive electric market as it serves as a massive government intrusion into the market. Government sponsored projects are not subject to market forces; rather, electric customers are forced to pay for the project no matter how bad the economic outcome. Worse yet, this uneconomic government-driven project will displace more efficient private sector projects that actually provide reliability.
The contract’s power is entirely derived from existing resources in Quebec. Accordingly, net carbon emissions will not be reduced by the project. Ironically, it is the operation of the region’s competitive market that has led to a 42 percent reduction in New England’s power plant carbon emissions between 2001 and 2019.
As I see it, if Maine’s voters reject the project in November, the winners will be Maine and Massachusetts residents. The losers will be utilities, politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists. So what’s wrong with that?
Michael E. Hachey