April 09, 2020

Sitting in my as yet un-electrified home in Cutler for the past six days, I would like to thank Bangor Hydro-Electric for raising my internal, if not external, temperature.

Their unilateral choice to not accept power at the reasonable price of 5 cents per kilowatt-hour from the Indeck plant in Jonesboro has me steaming. Not only did the company once again get to shut the plant down as they did when they bought out the contracts of the Jonesboro, Deblois and West Enfield alternative power plants, they put individuals and property at risk.

To put a personal note on it, one good friend and septegenarian has been heating her eight-room home since the power went out last Thursday, Jan. 8, in Halls Mills. She has been heating it with her only source available, her wood cookstove. Anyone from Maine, except possibly Angus King who let Bangor Hydro get away with this profit-oriented travesty, knows you can’t get more than three hours to a stoking on a kitchen cook stove. This means she hasn’t had a full night’s sleep for a week. Don’t think just because the reports of the numbers of homes without electricity is going down that those left without aren’t suffering.

When the next Public Utilities Commission hearing comes up and Hydro has their hand out again, remember they put profit ahead of community spirit in our time of emergency. And Mr. King, shame on you for not settling this like the leader you told us you would be. George C. Molinski Jr. Cutler

The widespread devastation has been evident to all in the aftermath of Maine’s ice storm. What could have been a very bad situation has fared far better due to the kind-heartedness of everyday citizens helping each other. Citizens from all walks of life have given of their time, talents and money to ensure others can remain warm and fed during theis electric power crisis. While the state and federal government continue to fumble at providing aid and support, complete strangers are helping each other out in a neighborly fashion. Radio stations continue to bring us programming that is helping meet the needs of thousands of people throughout Maine. Although Bangor Hydro and Central Maine Power are giving their best efforts to restore electric power, many remain without service. If it were not for the noble efforts of fellow citizens, many people would have faired far worse in this crisis.

Exactly why Maine citizens have had to suffer at all remains a logical question. Perhaps the root problem lies in a lack of preparedness for such calamities. In retrospect, there are many weaknesses that need to be addressed. For one, there is no suitable back-up source for electrical power in Maine. Secondly, there are no adequate sources of food, water and shelter capable of sustaining all who are in need. Maine’s departure from a stron, prepared civil defense program is one of the chief causes of this predicament. Unfortunately, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is far too inefficient to provide the quick, local support needed to deal with a natural disaster of any consequence.

If Maine is to be prepared for the next natural disaster, it must reinstitute some sort of volunteer-based civil defense program. If anything is to be learned from this horrendous ordeal, it is the critical need to be prepared in advance for natural disasters. Jon Smith Levant

The recent ice storm and prolonged power outages make a good argument for clear-cutting — at least 50 feet back from the nearest power line. Brian Swartz Hampden

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