Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: The trust of the customer

It is a matter of trust and once again CMP has proven that they are not to be trusted. Beyond billing errors, extended outages, questionable land leases and indifference to customer’s complaints a new and shameful low has been achieved with the hiring of a shady private investigator who followed and spied on signature gathers this past winter. This PI did not discriminate. He not only followed and watched a notary through a window reporting back that he saw her “shuffling papers” he stalked and harassed volunteer signature gathers including myself, my husband and others.

It is unfortunate for customers like myself that the hard earned money we pay CMP for our electricity is funding this nonsense. CMP is a monopoly and for that privilege they are supposed to be taking care of the electricity needs of their customers. Instead Maine has a utility so caught up in chasing a for-profit project to meet another state’s energy mandates that they have forgotten whom they serve. And still, like a co-dependent fairy god mother, the PUC keeps granting them one rate increase after another.

Can CMP ever hope to get the trust of customers back? For me, it is simply too late.

Susan Theberge

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21 Responses »

  1. Susan, CMP doesn't use our money for anything, when you pay your bill, it becomes their money, what they choose to do with their money, is entirely up to them, as long as they aren't abusing small animals and children, who cares.

    Monopolies are perfectly legal within utility companies as long as the company abides by a few simple laws, being liked by their customers isn't one of them.

    And seeing how Stop the Corridor is currently the center of an ethics investigation in regards to its signature gathering and other potential illegal activities like failing to register as a PAC, I'd say the PI was very good at his job and helping to build a case against Stop the Corridor with the Maine Ethics Commission, or is it ok to step out of the ethics arena when you support the entity that is doing the stepping? And not expecting CMP to bring their A game, is pure naivety on your part.

    CMP's rates are lower than most around the country and even in the rest of New England, CMP could raise their rate a whole nickel and still be cheaper than Massachusetts.

  2. The issue here is no what CMP does with their money and once they have supplied their product and been paid it is their money.The problem i see is the rate increases that get approved by the PIC which is under direct influence of Gov. mills whom is pro corridor.

  3. I can say this about Massachusetts. Because the state is a  huge electricity consumer with a need for a lot of clean carbon free electricity credits from Maine wind and Canadian hydro, we Mainers get our electricity a lot cheaper than them.
    On the other hand, it is foolish to expect consistent, reliable power from wind turbines, which makes Canadian hydro a magnificent addition to our energy needs. 
    Also, it's great that CMP can build transmission lines cheap enough to be the winning bidder in bringing good, old hydro power to Maine.

  4. I agree the money given to CMP is their money except when that money is aquired by over billing, over payment from CMP just taking out of accounts by autopay and reimbursements by CMP and then CMP just taking it back. CMPs rates may seem lower but when they are charging people $500-30,000 a month thats unacceptable. When people are paying more to CMP than their monthly rent when they are single and live alone, again unacceptable. This isnt about people just waking up and deciding to not like CMP. This is a matter of CMP messing with a person's livelihood. At what point will this be acknowledged for the fraud it actually is? At what point will CMP stop paying people to stick up for them?

  5. Thank you Susan, for a rational and well thought out letter to the editor. CMP will try every tactic their bottomless pockets will allow for to change the minds of the people of Maine. They will sue, slander, start fake investigations and continue to run misleading ads every day until the referendum vote. I am of sincere hope the tactics won't work- I still have faith in Mainers to see the wheat from the chaff, despite the daily inundations of CMP ads on TV, radio and he internet. We can't be brainwashed that easily can we?

    Hrtlss, it seems CMP was able to uncover 2 signatures that are in question. Seems awfully fishy that out of 70,000 signatures they were able to find and ask those two people about signing. I know lots of people who signed and were never questioned- did CMP just get lucky or is there something going on here? I don't know, but I do know I don't trust CMP.

  6. Kathy... First of all I don't have a dog in this dog fight.. I will say I have no complaints about my bill... I pay more for phone and wifi that my monthly CMP bill.... I not sure what you are paying per month.. but if it is in that $500/30,000 range... or if you are paying more for electric than your monthly rent... you should get an electrician to check a few things out.. Or you have lower monthly rent than anyone I know.. Also, it might be worthwhile to check out where the money is coming from to fight this project... Darryl mentioned the 'bottomless pockets' of CMP... there are some darned deep pocket on the anti side from what I see.. I think you will be surprised who is involved and how much they are paid.. I have been around Maine for a long time and enjoy it. Wonder where the 'anti's' were when they were blowing of the tops of mountains, building roads and installing whirligigs?

  7. Mr. McKay: As of July 2018 Massachusetts residents paid the highest "average' power costs in the United States.

  8. The public lands lease is not questionable. It is straight up unconstitutional and clearly against state law. See title 35-a section 3132 chapter 13.

  9. Charlene, It is undesignated public land, that is subject to a whole different law. Designated public land would be a state park or watershed, wildlife preserve. The chunk in question is just a piece of state land with no significance, the law says that it can be used by utility companies for transmission lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and LNG gas lines. The regulator was correct in 2014 when he issued the permit.

  10. HB, You are incorrect. The land in question is Land for Maine's Future Land purchased by Maine taxpayers via bond. The rules around this stipulate any significant change to the land would require 2/3 vote of the Legislature. There was no 2/3 vote to approve this lease when it was signed. Therefore not legal regardless of who approved, outside of 2/3 of the Legislature of course.

  11. Maine's public also owns and has access to almost 450,000 acres of public reserved lands throughout the state.
    Public reserved land is as it says: land reserved for the public's use.
    Unlike state park land, which is reserved for recreational use, however, public reserved land can be for one or a multitude of uses, either for recreation, leased for timber harvesting, and for preservation of animal habitat, sensitive animal or plantlife or unique natural offerings.
    One of the great conservation victories of the 20th century for Maine's public was the historic event of the Maine Supreme Court ruling in 1981 of Cushing vs Maine. This ruling made clear that these public reserved lands belong to the average people out there like me and you. Not to the State or to private industry.

  12. Mainah, I am aware of how the land became public, but it is not designated for a particular purpose, as I mentioned previous, if it were then you are correct, changes to the land would need a 2/3rds vote, instead it is just a nondescript piece of public land.

  13. hb. Can you go back to your first comment and explain why you think monopolies are legal? Just wondering since we have federal/state antitrust laws, the Sherman Antitrust act... Yes, we have monopolies in the U.S. owned by foreign investors that don't pay income taxes in the U.S. their companies receive tax incentives and benefits from the U.S. tax payer.

    Here some examples of what constitutes an illegal Monopoly: Read and it starts to sound familiar.

    Monopolies are illegal if they are established or maintained through improper conduct, such as exclusionary or predatory acts. This is known as anti competitive monopolization.

    How Illegal Monopolies Exploit the Market
    Here are some examples of how illegal monopolies unfairly exploit their market power:

    Price Discrimination: selling similar goods to buyers at different prices
    CMP can do this with their pricing depending on how much a consumer knows, I know becasue they did it us.

    Exclusive Dealings: requiring a buyer or seller to do buy or sell all or most of a certain product from a single supplier. We only have one choice here for delivery.

    Tying Contract: selling a product or service on the condition that the buyer agrees to also buy a different product or service.

  14. I've heard alot about what Mainers are going to lose with the CMP Development, mostly from people who like dreaming of hugging trees ( they have parks there, where people can engage in this activity).
    What is not recognized by the masses,ie, those who walk with blinders to obstruct the view of the homeless and other victims of social dysfunction, is the money gained by this project, might deliver their communities from the oppressions they choose to ignore.
    Out here in the sticks, we also know the pains of poverty and oppression, but in some way we are grateful to the land owners who contribute to our infrastructure through the payment of taxes for the land they own.
    Presently, CMP contributions pay for fifty percent of the SAD74 budget.
    Education is the greatest tool to deliver our children from oppression and ignorance
    "What is really needed to make democracy function is not knowledge of facts, but right education."-
    - Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

  15. Education and critical thinking, not public indoctrination disguised as 'no child left behind' and 'media narratives and buzz words' interpreted as facts.
    No truth by repetition thank you.

  16. I don't think people realize just how bad it will be for towns when state revenue sharing gets cut as state revenues are lost due to this crisis. I know peoples views on this issue are pretty set in stone, but it may be that CMP money connected to this project will be necessary to maintain some basic services for towns and schools. I'd be curious if any opponents of the CMP plan are rethinking their position in light of this economic crisis.

  17. No Scott not this guy. What we need isn’t more power or more tax money, we need farmers, manufacturing, and the essential jobs we have now. Not lose more jobs than this will create. CMP has even said there will only be around 38 permanent jobs on there end after construction is done. I will still pass on something like tax money that is becoming more useless the more the federal reserve keeps printing and hurting our economy more in the lo g run then it will help. Watch the “Liberty Report” with Ron Paul from today 3/27/2020 it’s on YouTube.

  18. The title of this letter says it all. The message on our vehicle number plates says it all. VACATIONLAND What CMP offers to help our outdoor activities that people come here to enjoy to offset what has been taken from the wilderness setting will set the tone of attitude for much of the silent majority for a long time to come. Many Mainers were brought up to leave no mark or leave it better then it was before when they entered the Maine woods to enjoy the bounty it offered. CMP has a chance to underline the public in public utility and claim "We are there for you in every way". Dont blow it.

  19. Speaking of fairy tales, so many of the comments made in opposition to the construction of a transmission line through Maine have been utterly made up I honestly find it hard to believe that anyone is listening to this nonsense. It has been a remarkable experience, one that has reminded me of the lies Americans were told so they would back the invasions and occupations that ultimately failed to fix the Middle East as promised.

    Back then I was a Marine with a security clearance and an understanding of the challenges we faced in our attempt to manage the threats inherent in a post Cold War Middle East acquired through years of training with organizations like Marine Corps Intelligence Schools and the Naval War College. Ultimately, knowing that topic as well as I did left me with the ability to know what horrors lay in store when Washington chose to abandon the strategy of containment that would have served us well had it received the support it required from our political leaders.

    Today I find myself in a similar situation, as I developed an understanding of Global Warming and Climate Change while earning a Masters in the Geological Sciences that will afford me the opportunity to witness the lies that ultimately lead many to oppose strategies that could prevent us from doing much of the damage that has yet to be done to our planet. In each I see a generational divide, one that causes those with less time left in this world to support risky decisions that are grounded more in previously held notions than in the new ones they struggle to come to grips with.

    As I see it, we suffer because so many who should have long ago been put out to pasture remain, spoiling the future with long since disproven reasonings that have us looking back instead of forward as we chart the course ahead. I blame the arrogance that comes to so many with the mere passing of time for this, as well as that which comes with prosperity for both. It is in their tendency to convince people that they possess some innate understanding that others do not that they do harm.

  20. Sammo, Addressed in order,

    Has CMP forced out other power companies, no. Emera operates in CMP territory as does NextEra.
    Exploit their market power, no as well because their prices are below market price.
    CMP doesn't actually sell anything.
    CMP doesn't require anybody to buy from them exclusively as they don't sell anything, and their customers have several choices as to who supplies the power they wish to buy, for example NextEra, Emera, or Maine Renewable Energy to name a few. Supplier and deliverer are not the same thing.
    I was unaware CMP forced its customers to buy other CMP services as I don't think CMP offers other services, have they gotten into internet, tv or phone services?
    CMP is a legal monopoly,

  21. The best thing we can do for the planet and our place in it is to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Be mindful of those who would encourage you to forgo the transition to renewable energy for even a little longer. And be particularly wary of those who would draw comparison between a transition already underway with one that does not yet exist as they ask you to join them in opposition.

    The only comparison that should be made as we consider the development of a power line to transmit energy from a hydroelectric facility in Canada to Southern New England is between it and the source of energy it will replace. We have lost too much time already to fall for such tricks that will further delay a transition that will rid us of a major source of environment damaging pollution. And that road is paved in renewable energy projects sidelined by arguments similar to that now being made.

    While Mainers have expressed an interest in renewable energy since the 1970's few of those projects have actually been undertaken. This included a proposed hydroelectric project that would have converted the energy behind the impressive Bay of Fundy tides into electricity, enough to provide for our state's needs with enough left over to sell to neighborhoods markets. And as those projects have encountered opposition they have cleared the way for the construction of pollutant heavy fossil fuels driven facilities throughout the region.