Fox Islands Electric Bill — where’s the beef?

If you pay attention to your electric bill, you have seen a statistic in the upper right hand corner: “Wind Production”. It is, by far, not the most important statistic for ratepayers.

More relevant would be for the utility to inform ratepayers how much they are “saving”, because what you want to know is: “are you paying more or less for electricity, because of the controversial wind turbine development?”

If the wind farm saves you money — , you might say it was worth it, all the complaints with the neighbors. But you are not paying less. You are paying more, and Fox Islands Wind Electric should tell you on the bill, how much more you are paying, right on the bill under the production number.

Part of the reason you are not paying less, the utility tells you, is that neighbors are litigating the state of Maine and that it makes sense for Vinalhaven ratepayers to be pitted against them. That’s what the utility argued in its December newsletter, without mentioning you are paying more for electricity today than if the turbines had not been built.

Part of the reason you are paying more, is because the productivity of wind turbines is less than advertised by the industry. The Citizens’ Task Force on Wind Power just put up an interesting chart: Maine Wind Sites Production for entire year of 2012.

And if you are among those who say, “I don’t mind paying more”, just remember that some people living near the turbines are paying so much more than you will ever pay: with homes, health, property values and peace of mind. Someday, Vinalhaven ratepayers will ask tougher questions of Fox Islands Electric Cooperative than simply accept what’s printed in the upper right corner of the monthly bill.

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