The Rumford Water District has been negotiating with Poland Spring for the past six months for a contract to make Poland Spring a customer of the district and sell them water. Some people in opposition to Poland Spring claim that the proposed deal is not good because the water is being sold at too low of a price. Under Maine law, consumer-owned water utilities such as the Rumford Water District must set just and reasonable water rates, which are then approved and administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Despite what the opposition claims, the district cannot set a discriminatory water rate for Poland Spring (i.e., a rate applicable to one customer that is different than all other customers in the same customer class).

The district’s legal counsel is required by the Maine Bar rules to zealously advocate on behalf of the district and its customers in negotiations with Poland Spring. I have personally observed the district’s legal counsel zealously advocate for the district’s customers in tough, but fair negotiations with Poland Spring.

There are not many water utilities in the state of Maine that would not love the opportunity to sell their water sustainably, provide over a million dollars in benefits to their community, and generate revenue to help keep rates low and replace aging infrastructure.

In order for this to happen I ask for residents to please support the Chapter 55 Water Extraction Ordinance by voting “yes” at the polls in Rumford on Tuesday, June 13.

Brian Gagnon, superintendent, Rumford Water District


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