[On April 24, 1995], a Bangor Daily News editorial titled, “Hyro and Ultrapower,” concluded with the admonition that “… government must be careful when it intrudes in the marketplace…” While the above statement might have sounded like one of Alan Greenspan’s, it never evoked even a glimmer of concern from the “government” of this state
In the late ’80s, the paper companies made sure the electric companies were required to use wood-burning plants as “renewable energy sources.” The resultant long-term contracts which Hydro and Central Maine Power signed with companies like Ultrapower were ruinous. It was not long before Hydro was in Augusta asking the government to back a $160 million bail-out of its West Enfield and Jonesobor contracts. I got a chuckle when one of the more flamboyant bureaucrats jumped up and said, “… But you don’t have any collateral!” They got the government guarantees anyway.
Now, after we have endured these horror shows, it appears there are intersts afoot who would have Hydro sign another contract with Indeck, the corporation that now owns the old Jonesboro wood-burner. Think about it! Hydro has not paid off the $80 million it borrowed to buy out the Ultrapower contracts yet and now the timber interests are using the ice storm in an effort to resurrect that very same plant.
If the Public Utilities Commission insists the deregulated companies selling power in this state must use 30 percent “renewable energy sources,” the companies should use coal-burners of the Midwest; they are less costly than wood-burners. Maine rate-payers do not need anymore wood-burning electric generating plants or 12- to 13-cents per kilowatt-hour bills to support the timber interests. No more government intursions, please. Paul Hanson Argyle