Central Maine Power Co. is committed to providing stable delivery rates for customers, investment in our state’s infrastructure, clean-energy expertise and energy grid security. These are principles that our company has always held, both while operating independently decades ago, and now shared and financially supported by our parent company, AVANGRID, and its majority shareholder, Iberdrola. As an employee of CMP for nearly 35 years, who is now privileged to lead the company, I can attest that these principles drive the work of our employees every day and I am pleased that, as part of a larger energy group, CMP can apply best business practices and greater investment to advance these goals.
Before the merger of CMP with Iberdrola, the company invested approximately $50 million annually into maintaining and strengthening the grid. After the merger in 2010, and then the subsequent merger with U.S.-based UIL Holdings in 2015, Maine has benefited from an average of over $300 million in annual investments in assets and infrastructure — a six-fold increase dedicated to improving automation and enhancing the resiliency of our transmission and distribution network. In fact, over 100 percent of CMP’s earnings during this period have been reinvested by shareholders in Maine’s electric grid.
Meanwhile, CMP’s electric delivery rates have stayed at 5.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for a dozen years.
I am a Maine native and grew up here. I enjoy hunting, fishing and the beautiful snowmobile trails the state offers. I want to preserve these experiences for future generations.
As each of us considers how we can become part of the solution to reduce carbon emissions, Maine benefits from the international leadership and experience of Iberdrola, a global energy company with the largest renewables asset base in the world. Avangrid Renewables, a sister company to the Networks company that owns CMP, has wind farms in 22 states, a growing utility-scale solar segment, and has become the renewable-energy provider of choice to some of the country’s largest tech companies through power purchase agreements.
Avangrid Renewables is also on track to launch Vineyard Wind, the country’s first offshore utility-scale wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, drawing upon Iberdrola’s offshore wind development expertise in Europe.
AVANGRID has publicly pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2035, the first utility company in the U.S to set a neutrality goal.
CMP shares this commitment to clean-energy solutions, and because of our global affiliations, can bring the needed technology and business practices to Maine with less impact on rates than an independent or publicly owned company can. In this vein, CMP is currently working to develop sensible approaches to electric vehicle charging infrastructure to encourage EV ownership. According to the U.S Energy Information Agency, nearly 30 percent of greenhouse emissions are produced by cars and trucks.
AVANGRID is committed to investing in cyber and physical security initiatives to protect the U.S. energy grid. This mission is becoming more important as both the sophistication and frequency of state-sponsored cyberattacks on our critical infrastructure continue to increase. We’ve worked hard to build a culture of security where our employees understand and willfully accept the co-responsibility to keep the lights on. We are pleased that state and national grid-security experts have recognized our efforts in these areas.
CMP has been a Maine-based company, staffed by Mainers, for more than 120 years, and it is more unusual to come across an employee with five years of service than 35. Our employees are involved in their communities, and many are learning new job skills and applying innovative technology to ensure that we serve our customers now and well into the future.
As we hear recent talk about “foreign ownership,” it is notable that we haven’t discussed the benefits associated with globalization. International partnerships allow us to draw upon the knowledge of other organizations and share our ideas. Ask the leading Maine companies that are investing and growing their businesses abroad about the benefits.
Over three decades at CMP, I have seen a lot of change — in technology, in state regulation and, yes, in ownership. The one constant has been our home-grown commitment to our customers, and I am proud of our ability to invest more in sustainably meeting their needs.
Doug Herling is president and CEO of Central Maine Power Co.