Maine Could Become the First State with a Publicly Owned Power Company
Residents of Vacationland should vote to stop paying for capitalist profiteering.
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This November, Maine voters will head to the polls to decide the one-of-a-kind ballot initiative, Question 3. A citizen initiative backed by the Our Power campaign, Question 3 will ask voters, “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?”
If the resolution passes, Maine will incorporate the Pine Tree Power Company (PTPC), an electric transmission and distribution utility owned by the state. Pine Tree Power would have the directive to purchase all privately owned electric companies operating in the state, bringing the current for-profit utilities under public control.
Following the establishment of the PTPC, Mainers would no longer have to purchase electricity from an undemocratic, unaccountable power company. Instead, their electricity would be provided by a public utility, very similar to how the majority of Americans get their water (87% of all Americans receive water from a publicly owned water utility). Question 3 specifies that the PTPC is to be run by an elected board, meaning that if Mainers don’t like the way the new public utility is distributing their electricity, they can fire (vote out) the board members and elect new ones.
This democratic model stands in stark contrast to the capitalist model that currently exists in Maine (and the other 49 states) in which residents have no say in how their electricity is generated, distributed, or what price they pay for its provision. Not only do Mainers not currently have democratic input over the two private power companies that supply the state (they can’t vote out the CEOs or shareholders), but the centrally planned nature of power grids makes it all but impossible for them to engage in competitive market activity.
Electric Grids: Centrally Planned, Capitalist Profits
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