Four arrested while protesting CMP's "unfair" stance on solar


AUGUSTA - Four people were arrested Monday afternoon during a protest at Central Main Power Headquarters.

Activists say CMP is working against public interest when it comes to solar energy, but the power company told ABC 7 & FOX 22 it's trying to protect customers from unfair solar costs.

"If you don't leave, you're going to be arrested," an Augusta police officer told protestors on Monday.

"We're not leaving," one of the protesters said.

As a result, four protesters were handcuffed Monday outside CMP headquarters in Augusta .

"To lock the building and call the police was more than we were expecting," said Nathan Broaddus, an activist with Portland Friends Meeting.

Nathan Broaddus is one of a handful of activists hoping to bring awareness to what he says is the power company's effort to undermine solar power.

"Our intention was to lobby the lobbyists, go to CMP and create a dialog to ask them to halt or reverse their lobbying efforts against solar power in Maine," Broaddus said.

The activists want CMP to support bills that maintain the state's net metering rule, which gives solar providers credit for energy they put into the grid.

The activists say when CMP lobbies against bills on solar energy, they're ignoring public interest.

"To oppose a tool in out tool box to address climate change is short sighted," said Broaddus.

But CMP insists supporting net-metering would be unfair to customers.

C-m-p sent ABC 7 & FOX 22 this statement: "The costs to maintain the energy grid do not decrease as more customers use solar power....Revenues not paid by people who receive private solar credits need to be collected from other customers."

While the company believes solar providers should indeed be compensated for the energy they add to the grid, they say that compensation should not come out of the pockets of others.

Still, activists say they're frustrated with the power company's refusal to speak with them Monday.

"It goes to show how nervous they are about what the public will say," Broaddus said.

The activists arrested on criminal trespassing charges have since been released and will appear in court at a later date.

Protesters say they'll continue their fight.

"I hope they see the light," said Broaddus.

Kayla Fish

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Kayla joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in May of 2017. She got into journalism because she loves talking with people, and she's incredibly grateful to share the stories of Mainers throughout the region.

She got her start in broadcasting way back in middle school as a member of a morning announcements TV broadcast club, and her love for the news industry took off from there.

Kayla graduated from Penn State University in 2017 with degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish. During her time as a student at Penn State, Kayla was an executive producer and reporter for the "Centre County Report", an Emmy award-winning student-run newscast. She studied abroad in Ronda, Spain and traveled to Panama with an international reporting class. Kayla kept busy in college, spending four years working as a student manager in the dining hall.

Kayla grew up in the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, so transitioning into life in Vacationland was a piece of cake! A self-described winter fanatic, she loves all things snow related, including hitting the slopes on her snowboard. She also likes hiking, kayaking or doing anything outdoors. She loves meeting new people so if you see her around, be sure to stop and say hi!

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