I am Representative Nathan Carlow; I reside in Buxton and have the privilege of representing the good people of House District 16 in the Maine State Legislature. I’m here today because I know that electricity is central to our quality of life and the future of Maine people and the businesses that support our economy.
Young Mainers, my contemporaries, will live with the decisions we make today. These decisions will affect our prosperity, our businesses, and the planet we will leave to future generations as well.
The facts are clear: investor-owned utilities are not meeting the needs of the Maine people, and they haven’t been for a long time.
In addition to my legislative duties, I serve on the Bonny Eagle School Board of Directors, and I have for more than four years. The crucial decisions that are made by school boards all over our country have such a significant impact on the communities they serve, this is why school board members are elected and are accountable only to those that they serve.
Now imagine, for just a moment, if instead of local boards of education making decisions for schools, we had foreign, for-profit corporations setting policy, raising costs, and presiding over a steep decline in the quality of service.
I would strongly oppose this hypothetical scenario, and I don’t think it’s a good way to operate the electric utilities we depend on either.
The Pine Tree Power company legislation we’re proposing today offers a common-sense way to strengthen our grid, reduce outages, and lower rates for Maine families and businesses.
It will advance Maine’s carbon emission goals, so we can do our part to protect the natural resources Mainers cherish and depend on.
It will promote broadband internet connection by establishing consumer ownership of the lines and poles across the state that deliver this critical technology to our homes.
And it will make ratepayers the primary decision-makers in Maine’s electric industry.
Combined, these improvements will encourage young people to come to Maine so they can live, work, and raise a family, and it will attract businesses, jobs, and the economic benefits that are attached to that growth.
These are the reasons why I am working collaboratively with other legislators to create Pine Tree Power, a Maine consumer-owned utility working only for the Maine people, not Spain, not Calgary, and not profit-seeking investors in other parts of the world.