I’ve been looking at the details of the Pine Tree Power referendum, now that we’ll be voting on it in November. My conclusion: Pine Tree Power is too expensive and too risky.

In order to forcibly acquire the assets of Central Maine Power and Versant Power, as the ballot measure requires, the state will need to pay fair market value for all their wires, poles and substations. A conservative estimate puts that cost at well over $10 billion. The state will need to borrow more money than it spends on all the services funded in its two-year budget just to finance the creation of Pine Tree Power. And, these billions of dollars of debt, plus interest, will fall squarely onto Maine taxpayers.