The first pole was raised in the NECEC hydropower corridor in The Forks on Feb. 9, 2021.

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Here’s a number I want all Mainers to remember: $2.44 billion.

Many of us are dissatisfied at CMP and Versant for our higher January electricity bills. I believe that anger is misplaced. The increase in the generation cost of electricity is something neither company has any say in. Price-setting originates in the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and with natural gas and oil prices soaring, the PUC’s standard this year is reflective of those prices.

So, who is to blame? Look no further than NextEra. That $2.44 billion equals its record profits for 2022. This is the same company that helped fund the campaign to stop the construction of the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) to the tune of more than $20 million — a fraction of its earnings, but an enormous number here in Maine.

This is also the same company that refused to upgrade its equipment to accommodate the NECEC at its Seabrook power plant. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was subsequently forced to compel them to get their act in gear.

Those record profits point to the fact that fossil fuel companies like NextEra will go to great lengths to protect its market share, and that includes funneling $20 million into a referendum to stop construction of the NECEC. The latest ruling from FERC is yet another victory in getting this project back up and running. These big oil companies need to be put in their place, and electricity bills need to drop. Building the NECEC would accomplish both goals.

Cody Porter

State Chairman

Maine College Republicans

Old Town