Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, Aug. 1

Aug 01, 2019

CMP says column contained errors

In response to the recent column by Susan Reider [Midcoast Commons, "CMP is eating our lunch," July 18], CMP seeks to clarify a few facts. When discussing CMP’s pending rate case and billing/metering investigation, it is important that accurate information be provided to the public.

First, we acknowledge that customers should expect more from CMP in terms of service. While we disagree that the billing system development itself was “rushed,” we have taken steps to address customer service issues and are committed to further improving our customers’ experience.

The 18 percent rate increase referenced by Ms. Reider that went into effect in January 201, was not a CMP increase, but an increase in the Standard Offer supply rate, reflecting the cost to supply electricity, which is set annually by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. This was followed in 2019 by a 13.7 percent increase in that same rate. Some customers who select their own suppliers have seen an even greater increase.

Customers are frequently – and understandably -- confused because the charge appears on their CMP bill. CMP collects the charge from customers and remits it to the energy suppliers.

Iberdrola, the majority shareholder in CMP’s parent company, AVANGRID, did receive U.S. tax credits earlier in this decade. As a report on the Good Jobs First site highlighted by Ms. Reider states, Iberdrola “acquired them by investing heavily in U.S. power generation facilities, including wind farms that have made use of a renewable energy provision of the 2009 Recovery Act.” Iberdrola is among the largest renewable energy companies in the world.

The payroll for all CMP and Avangrid employees in Maine for 2019 is $105.1 million. Ms. Reider’s figures only reflect CMP-specific jobs, not the more than 200 employees in Maine who work for AVANGRID on functions that serve both CMP and other AVANGRID companies.

As to profitability, CMP’s current allowed distribution return on equity, established in 2014, is 9.45 percent. CMP’s actual return on distribution assets in 2018 was approximately 4  percent, it is not 10 to 2 percent.

CMP did not earn $8 million with the installation of Smart Meters. In fact, all operating savings generated from the introduction of Smart Meters have been passed on to customers.

Finally, CMP is not for sale. A consumer-owned utility cannot promise less expensive operations, jobs for Maine people, or more reliable service at less cost.

CMP’s rate case, currently before the MPUC, is primarily centered on investing in the people, equipment and systems to create a more reliable grid in Maine. We appreciate the opportunity to clarify this information.

Catharine Hartnett

Manager, CMP Communications

Augusta

Column was 'a breath of fresh air'

I am writing in appreciation of Ralph Wallace's Another View column, "Comment on capitalism," (Courier-Gazette, July 25).

The piece is a breath of fresh air, I usually live in Maryland, near the District, and I don't often read, or hear, thoughts like Wallace's  (except in The Washington Times.).

I particularly appreciate his rejection of envy.

One objection: Equal opportunity is a fantasy, of course; my father worked from 1952 to 2018, 66 years, ages 12 to about 78, and married up, in 1962, to my mother, a classical pianist. He often would hire me to work for shifts of varying lengths. He actually had worked for 17 years, by the time I came into the world! Can anyone top that? I have also followed a bit in my mother's footsteps, but am a much better singer than pianist. And my mother's mom taught piano for 81 years!

Today's ghetto youth could probably just dream of the life that I've had, as they grow up in single mother households, in failing schools, and with limited ability to find a job, due to the effects of raising the minimum wage. I am actually quite fortunate, having accessed better education, in some grades.

(My parents actually divorced in 1978, and my mother passed away several years ago.)

Eric Norwood

Camden

On with the show!

Thomaston, congratulations and deep thanks for stepping in and rescuing the Zerbini Family Circus from the liberal, animal-rights clutches of the Rockland P.C. folk.

My wife and I attended the final, sold-out performance of the circus, and it was an absolute delight to be part of this all-American family entertainment. As far as the circus animals are concerned, it was obvious to all of us that they were treated with affection and professional respect. The ringmaster also pointed out that federal and state health regulations require that all of the circus animals be examined by a veterinarian monthly. Certainly no mistreatment here whatsoever.

Our country is facing an unprecedented attack on our quality of life by radical, left-wing groups who want to bring down any event, historical marker, figure of speech, tradition – including the circus – that doesn’t comport with their bland, socially-engineered view of how we should live. We are witnessing the wussification of America and, sadly, Rockland was used as an instrument in that enterprise.

Now, take a well-deserved bow, Thomaston!

Doc Wallace

Rockport

Community Auction successful

The 2019 Washington Community auction, held July 27, was a tremendous success! On behalf of all of the charitable organizations that benefited from the sale, we want to send a sincere thank-you to all of the businesses whose generous donations provided us with a wide variety of great items. Without your support, the auction would not have been possible. Thank you also to all who attended and whose charitable bids made this truly a special event for everyone involved. Thank you again!

Sandra Grinnell

for Washington Historical Society

Nature interrupted

“Late in May as the light lengthens”...(W.S.Merwin, poet)

I, too, would like to be writing poetry -- exquisite and detailed, bringing you to imagine the possibilities of summer, enhancing our vision of butterflies and pollination, the feeding of splendor and necessity. Unfortunately, unbridled human nature upends nature’s grandeur. We see that children are taken from their parents. Psychologists say separation is as traumatic as torture. We watch the president create this and cultivate division, feeding evil to good people.

And so I put down my poet's pen, the beauty interrupted by horror. I want desperately to detail the rays of gold upon the breakwater. In moments it will change, like an action movie. I don't want to blink or turn away. I never wish to be distracted from nature's voice, or my voice of indignation about what must happen for children, health, women's health, nature and human nature.

Wendy S. Rapaport

Rockland

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