Talk of the Towns 6/9/21: Pine Tree Power—the rationale for a consumer-owned electric utility for Maine

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

Pine Tree Power—the rationale for a consumer-owned electric utility for Maine
] -What led to consideration of a consumer- owned non-profit electric utility for the State of Maine? What is the history of this approach?
-What are the main advantages to this approach?
-What would have to change to make a consumer-owned electric utility possible?
-How is electricity generated and distributed in Maine today? What is the history of investor- owned electric utilities?
-What is the experience for Maine’s consumers of electricity? How do the two major privately owned utilities compare in reliability of service and rates to other rural states?
-The current bill is supported by members of both major political parties… What are the primary reasons for their support?
-In terms of energy conservation and use of renewables to produce electricity, how would a consumer-owned utility be different than the current model?

Rep. Nicole Grohoski (Ellsworth/Trenton) and also on Energy Utilities, Technology Committee
Emily Rochford, Unity College, core member Maine Youth for Climate Justice
Louise Chaplin, University of Maine, Executive Board, Coastal Youth Climate Coalition
John Brautigam, Maine Attorney and Public Policy Consultant

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.