(The following from Citizens Task Force On Wind Power) On July 1, most of Central Maine Power’s customers unknowingly suffered a 19.6% increase in electrical transmission rates. If they did notice the shocking increase to their electric bill, they most likely failed to connect the rate hike with the aggressive agenda to push wind power in Maine. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Maine Public Utilities Commission’ Category
It is a pattern with Fox Islands Wind: delay, twist the dialogue, use political influence in Augusta, and at the end either refuse to answer the question by regulators or provide answers to different questions, than the ones asked. Neighbors of the wind turbines have seen the pattern, time and again, over the past year and a half seeking some fairness and equity in the costs of excessive noise from the turbines. Recently, based on a complaint by neighbors, the Maine Public Utilities Commission asked the question of Fox Islands Wind: why should ratepayers be paying the costs of complying with noise rules and regulations? Instead of answering the PUC’s specific questions, Fox Islands Wind and George Baker provided a hodgepodge of answers, including data mismatched to the commissioners’ request. This is the same strategy FIW profitably deployed with Maine environmental regulators. Here is how Fox Islands Wind Neighbors responded to the FIW submittal to the Maine PUC.
Since no one was interested in either the question or the answer, at the FIEC board meeting this week, here is what the Maine PUC wants to know: Maine Public Utilities Commission letter to FIEC asking many of the same questions Fox Islands Wind Neighbors asked, for a year and a half with no response. Frivolous? Don’t think so.
(For news reports, click on “Vinalhaven in the News” in the pages section) Neighbors of the Vinalhaven wind turbine farm filed a lawsuit (Fox Islands Wind Neighbors Petition for Review) against the state of Maine yesterday for failing to enforce noise regulations against Fox Islands Wind, the turbine operator. The neighbors’ lawsuit charges that the decision by Maine DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) on June 30th was arbitrary and capricious and driven by political meddling against the recommendation of DEP regulatory staff.
Everywhere industrial wind turbines are placed too close to residences, there are complaints. What distinguishes Vinalhaven from other aggrieved victims of wind turbine noise is the extent to which neighbors initiated their own acoustical measurements and engagement with state regulators who admit that state standards fail to capture the acoustical impacts of wind turbines. For a year and a half, Vinalhaven neighbors carefully documented violations of the state noise standard while the wind turbine farm operator, Fox Islands Wind, continuously denied it was breaking state law.
In a separate matter, the neighbors recently filed a complaint against the Vinalhaven Electric Cooperative with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, charging that the utility had improperly billed ratepayers for the turbine operator’s expenses related to ongoing regulatory issues. But at this week’s annual meeting of the Fox Islands Electric Coop, the issue was not even on the agenda. The local utility is required to respond to the Maine PUC by August 1st.
The complaint filed yesterday in Superior Court seeks to vacate the DEP decision and compel the agency to go back to the recommendations of regulatory staff that put the burden of noise compliance on the wind turbine operator and not on citizens bearing the costs.
Chip Farrington put the audience to sleep. George Baker talked about what a fabulous job he has done to stop the controversy over the turbine noise. Not a single mention was made of the Maine Public Utilities Commission response to the complaint filed by turbine neighbors. As a matter of fiduciary responsibility, the officers should have highlighted for ratepayers the Maine PUC request. The agency is seeking the same information that neighbors have been asking for a year and a half: data that FIW refuses to produce on the underlying economics of the project: we want to know, are the wind turbines saving ratepayers money or not?
For more detail, read the interview in Maine Business Daily with former Gov. Angus King, now a wind power developer, who highlights a visit to Vinalhaven over the 4th of July, “Waiting for the Winds of Change” and comments by a few readers that set the appropriate discussion. Click, ‘more’ to read the comments. (more…)
For readers unfamiliar with the positions of Fox Islands Wind Neighbors, the complaint filed against Fox Island Electric Coop with the Maine Public Utilities Commission contains a library of information. You can read the entire MPUC Complaint here. By August 1st, FIEC must respond to a series of questions from the Maine PUC. One of the key points made by neighbors is that the turbine operator, FIW, should be shouldering the costs of noise violations and not FIEC ratepayers. Tom Zeller wrote for Huffington Post on the complaint.