March 29, 2020
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Disaster was waiting

The Jan. 21 Bangor Daily News disturbs me greatly as you report that the Public Utilities Commission staff is backing a rate hike for Bangor Hydro customers and Central Maine Power customers will likely foot part of the storm bill too.

Whoa, right there. Yes, this was a terrific ice storm, one of great proportions, and we could certainly expect to lose power as a result of it. But a lot of trees and branches that subsequently took out power lines did so because of improper trimming by the respective utilities not just this past year, but for many years.

This has been a disaster waiting to happen as, every year, crews have been paid to clear only dead limbs and whatever was absolutely necessary. A lot of homeowners who had their meter boxes torn from their homes because of this lack of maintenance should not have to pay for such damage.

In the event I have not yet made my point to some, I point to the statement attributed to Clark Irwin, a CMP spokesman in the BDN, “that about 90 percent of the $55 million in recovery costs (or CMP) went to labor.” That’s a lot of money, a fraction of which could have been spent on tree trimming crews in Maine rather than doled out to professional lineworkers from afar.

Much like the Maine Yankee plant, poor management and poor maintenance result in poor results. The power outage is more of an issue of liability that should be addressed as such by the governor rather than spending his time on Capitol Hill’s doorstep looking for a handout to bailout the utilities. We all pay federal taxes too, so money is just coming out of a different pocket. Lester Newsom Old Town


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