Another Lie Exposed - May 12, 2023
At Monday's Selectboard meeting in Pownal, we were told that Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP has decided to not build the Fickett Road Substation. This is the opposite of what the Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP marketing and legal team said during their campaign to sell the NECEC project to the citizens of Maine.
The Fickett Road Substation was marketed by Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP to the citizens of Pownal to bring Pownal an additional $1.4 million of revenue. Various members of boards and committees in Pownal actually had a meeting to determine how best to spend the additional revenue. During that meeting, our tax collector warned us that what CMP says and what CMP does, are two different things (referencing what CMP did to the town of Monmouth). Of course, now that the NECEC project is one step further to moving forward, more of the lies from Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP are bubbling to the surface.
We should congratulate the Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP marketing and legal teams on their successful manipulation. Their creation of the fake "non-profit" Western Mountains and Rivers Corporation (WMRC) was a stroke of genius. Hiring the WMRC (for $250,000) to represent Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP at the many hearings worked perfectly. Getting Governor Mills to appoint former WMRC Director Heather Johnson as Maine's Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development also likely helped. We can only wonder how Peter Mills, also a former Director of WMRC (and Governor Mills' brother) was able to contribute to the success of Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP.
Also, the two key documents that Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP paid to have written ("NECEC Transmission Project: Benefits to Maine Ratepayers" and "The Economic and Employment Contributions Of The New England Clean Energy Connect In Maine") were instrumental in getting the MPUC, DEP, Army Corp of Engineers, etc. to agree that the project should be approved.
Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP likely have done nothing illegal. Lying is not illegal. Manipulation is not illegal. False advertising is not illegal. When $$ are involved, little is illegal especially when the fine is much less than the profit. For example, our tax dollars paid Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP $96 million as part of a grant for the CMP's "smart meters" and CMP's billing software fiasco. Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP know how to play the game to maximize profits.
Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP continues to get rate increases from the MPUC, while Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP continues to be the worst utility in the nation. My bet is that Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP is going to let the grid in Maine collapse so that Iberdrola will get the Department of Energy and the citizens of Maine to pay for the upgrades as part of the taxpayer-funded $550 billion "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
Below is the text from "an Avangrid board member who lives in town" of Pownal. I'm not sure who crafted the text, but it is likely from the Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP marketing and legal teams.
"Originally the NECEC project included a STATCOM (345kV voltage regulator) in the Town of Pownal, it was going to be called Fickett Road S/S and was planned to be across the street from the Surowiec S/S. Once ISO New England completed their system impact study for the interconnection of the NECEC project it was determined that STATCOM was no longer needed at that location on the system. So now the only scope remaining as part of the Network Upgrades for NECEC in the town of Pownal is to rebuild/re-reate two existing 115kV lines that run from the Surowiec S/S towards Lewiston, about 1 mile of line each in the town of Pownal. Those lines will be rebuild/re-rated in the existing right of way. "
What other lies and deception do Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP have in store for the citizens of Maine?
Though the outcome of the trial was in favor of Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP, we should expect that an appeal is likely.
In order for a jury to side with Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP, the jury must have been instructed by the judge to ignore some key facts. It's hard to say what the jury was told to ignore, but things that often happen in a courtroom can defy common sense. Expensive lawyers that Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP can afford to hire are experts at twisting the truth and "objecting" to facts that would hurt their case.
We'll see how this plays out. We should expect an appeal.
In any case, we should fully expect that the MPUC will grant Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP yet another increase to our electric bills. Part of the increase will be used to pay for the legal and lawyer fees that Iberdrola/Avangrid/CMP spent to fight to challenge to the CMP corridor project.
WHAT IS THE CMP CORRIDOR?
Central Maine Power is owned by the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, as a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc.
Iberdrola/AVANGRID/CMP is planning on building a power line through Maine from Quebec to provide power to Massachusetts.
CMP's powerline will include 53 miles of cutting through the unspoiled wilderness in northwestern Maine.
QUEBEC TO MASS
There Were Three Major Proposals For Hydro Quebec To Bring Power to Massachusetts
Through New Hampshire
The Vermont Proposal Was Expected To Win.
but.....Massachusetts Chose The Less-Costly NH Proposal
The NH Regulators Denied the Permits, Citing The Damage To the Environment and Tourism.
Massachusetts Chose CMP's Proposal to Build the Power Line Through Maine.
Central Maine Power Devised An Elaborate Scheme To Force The Corridor Project On The People Of Maine.
Before The Citizens Of Maine Were Fully Aware Of The Extent Of The Corridor Project, The Stage Was Set For the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) To Approve The Project, Influenced By Iberdrola/AVANGRID/CMP Marketing And False Advertising.
CMP Created An "Environmental" Non-Profit Corporation (the Western Mountain And Rivers Corporation) to Lobby For CMP's Corridor Project.
CMP Paid To Have Biased "Economic Studies" Published
The Economic Studies Were Used to Influence the Maine Public Utilities Commission to Approve the Iberdrola/CMP Corridor Project.
CMP Falsely Claims That Maine Will Save $40 million in lower electricity costs, each year.
CMP Falsely Claims That They Will Reduce CO2 In Maine to the Equivalent of Removing 57,000 cars from Maine Roads and Highways.
CMP Falsely Claims That The Iberdrola/CMP Project Will Contribute $564 Million To the Maine Economy.
CMP Falsely Claims That They Will Invest $15 Million for Fiber Optics For Host Communities
CMP Falsely Claimed That They Will Provide 3,500 Jobs in Western Maine at Peak Construction
CMP Falsely Claims that NECEC Will Protect Maine From Seasonal Energy Spikes
CMP Deceptively Claims That Maine Will Receive $18 Million In Property Tax Revenues, to Lower Property Taxes
Fortunately, There Are Easy Alternatives for Massachusetts To Get Clean Energy
CMP needed a way to provide an illusion
of harmony with the environment.
They found it by creating
the Western Mountains and Rivers Corporation.
The next step was to make sure that the directors of
the Western Mountains and Rivers would support the CMP Corridor,
and to pay them well so that they would help promote CMP's Corridor.
- WMRC was established as a non-profit.
- CMP filed its application for state permits.
- CMP gives WMRC $250,000.
The Western Mountains And Rivers Corporation is in Somerset County. The Somerset County Commissioners voted to support CMP's NECEC. One of the commissioners was a director of the Western Mountains and Rivers Corporation.
Heather Johnson was also a director of the Western Mountains And Rivers Corporation. Governor Mills supports CMP's corridor project. Governor Mills appointed Heather Johnson as Maine's Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Peter Mills, Governor Mill's brother, was also a director of the Western Mountains And Rivers Corporation.
CMP Paid To Have Economic Studies Written to Influence the Maine Public Utilities Commission To Approve the CMP Corridor Project
The reports describe CMP's view of the benefits of their corridor project, but they say nothing about the negative impacts to Maine's tourism economy, Maine's fish and wildlife habitat or the impact on future generations.
The reports also leave out that CMP has earned
the "Worst-In-Nation Customer Satisfaction Mark"
for three consecutive years and is an unreliable business partner.
Note that two of the documents say "Redacted", meaning CMP is hiding information that they don't want the citizens of Maine to see.
"NECEC Transmission Project:
Benefits to Maine Ratepayers"
Prepared For: Central Maine Power
Amount CMP Paid To Have This Written:
Amount paid: Undisclosed
Date Published: 27 September 20
The Principal Consultant for this document previously held management and power supply planning positions at Central Maine Power.
"The Economic and Employment Contributions Of The
New England Clean Energy Connect In Maine"
Prepared For: Central Maine Power
CMP Paid $35,000 to have this written.
Published in September 2017, at the same time that CMP filed its application for state permits to build the corridor.