Maine Could See Dueling Referendums About Power Ownership

A group that wants to prevent the creation of a publicly-owned power company in Maine has submitted signatures to the state calling for a referendum to halt the project.

The group is called No Blank Checks and it’s supported by the parent company of Central Maine Power, which is the largest utility in the state. The group’s petition calls for a ballot question that could require consumer-owned utilities to receive voter approval before taking on more than $1 billion in government debt.

The request for a ballot question sets up a scenario in which there could be dueling referendum questions on the subject in November, the Portland Press Herald reported. A competing group, Our Power, wants to force Central Maine Power and its parent company to sell their assets to a new consumer-owned nonprofit utility. Our Power submitted signatures for its own referendum in the fall and they have already been certified.

The No Blank Checks referendum would stall Our Power’s plan if both ballot questions pass in November.

Our Power representatives have said their initiative is a chance to put energy in local hands. No Blank Checks representatives said their proposal would prevent Mainers from unwittingly taking on billions in debt.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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