Island life is hard enough without Maine regulators opposing deals to lower electricity costs

Posted 2017-02-02

By Rob Snyder / Special to the BDN

On Jan. 18, the Maine Public Utilities Commission made a decision that raises critical questions about how rural communities across the state receive and pay for electricity.

In a 2-1 vote, the commission denied Emera Maine’s request to acquire the Swan’s Island Electric Cooperative, a deal that would have provided more affordable electricity service to the Swan’s Island and Frenchboro communities.

In this article, Rob Snyder, president of the Island Institute, addresses the importance of furthering the sustainability of Maine’s island and remote coastal communities by ensuring they have access to safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.

We need to have deeper conversations about how policy affects the fate of our rural communities. If we do choose to live in Maine, that choice comes with limitations. But state regulators and policymakers must not further burden or divide us. Essential services like electricity allow each corner of Maine — rural or not — to thrive.