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October 23, 2018

Rep. Seth Berry

Recently, you ran a story from the Associated Press in which a press release by CMP was essentially printed as gospel and without reaction from other parties. This omission is unfortunate.

CMP proposes keeping prices stable by using tax savings

In truth, CMP is using an unpaid-for tax windfall as cover to temporarily mask the underlying factors driving up our electricity rates -- namely, transmission costs that are nearly triple what they were a decade ago, and failed promises of "savings" from the smart meters we purchased for them several years ago.

The money CMP recently received from the federal tax cuts for the rich and large corporations is not "savings," as CMP suggests, but an unearned windfall. This tax windfall is to be paid for, with interest, by the next generation of Americans. In 2019 alone, these new federal tax changes are expected to add $230 billion to the U.S. deficit.

Just as CMP has not "saved" this money, it is not theirs to give back to us. It is ours. By law, Maine regulators are already required to pass utility windfalls on to consumers. For CMP to suggest that they are generously sharing in their investors' bounty in order to reduce rates is absurd and is not in keeping with the legal expectation that they do so.

This is just the latest example of why we can't simply take anything CMP says or does at face value. The public deserves better.

State Rep. Seth Berry
House Chair, Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology

Berry represents House District 55: Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Swan Island and most of Richmond. He previously served from 2006-2014, the final two years as House majority leader.