Letter to the Editor: The kind of company NextEra is

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In 1998, NextEra became a provider of electricity in Maine when it purchased power plants run by Central Maine Power as Maine began to deregulate its energy market. This Florida based energy giant (that got its start as a state focused energy provider like CMP) would then spend the next year attempting to back out of that deal. Maine’s attempt to reduce electric cost by creating more competition was off to a bad start.

It’s possible NextEra has had other plans from the start, for in 2000 they attempted to merge with Iberdrola in an effort to acquire CMP. If that merger had not fallen through, NextEra may have controlled our energy future by managing the grid through one organization and generation through another separated on paper. Given how aggressively they’ve gone after CMP and Hydro-Quebec since, I think it’s safe to say they intend to control this market if they can.

Central Maine Power isn’t perfect, but it’s been providing Mainers with affordable electricity since 1899, when its first hydroelectric generator lit the streets of Oakland, Maine. Hydro-Quebec isn’t nearly as old, but some of the facilities it operates have been providing electricity to parts of the United States since 1910. Both have served the region well.

It would be a mistake to allow a Florida based company to undermine the partnership these electric companies maintain and the efforts our state has undertaken to support it and the healthy electric grids they’ve built. For years NextEra has refused to upgrade a breaker at the Seabrook nuclear power plant as part of this effort. It does so to prevent Hydro-Quebec from moving more electricity into New England despite the risk not upgrading the device poses.

This is the kind of company NextEra is. They’re competitive to a fault, challenging local officials who attempt to improve the electric grid for consumers at every opportunity. Last year they spent nearly $20 million in an effort to convince us that hydroelectricity is as dirty as coal. It was a cheap trick that caused scientists with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oak Ridge National Laboratories to publish research clarifying the science NextEra attempted to manipulate to make that point. That’s a serious infraction for a company that claims to be concerned with the environment.

Those interested in the research mentioned above can find MIT’s contribution, published by the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research here:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s research can be found here:


Jamie Beaulieu
Farmington, Maine

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