August 12, 2022

By Ramona du Houx

Our Power Executive Director Andrew Blunt and Senior Advisor Former State Rep. Seth Berry, longtime House Chair of the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the Energy Office of Governor Janet Mills will intervene at the Public Utilities Commission to oppose the latest request for a three-year rate increase by Central Maine Power.

“Our Power applauds this effort by Governor Mills,” said Blunt. “But let’s be honest: the profits made by private utilities on investments like this are protected by US Supreme Court case law. State law and regulation is powerless here. Either we invest in improving our grid and rates go up, or we don’t. If we stick with this failing business model, we can’t have it both ways. A customer-owned utility could make these investments at half the cost to the average ratepayer.” 

“Today, many of Maine’s consumer-owned utility customers pay half as much for their electricity as the captive Maine customers of Versant and CMP, ” added Rep. Seth Berry. “These Mainers in 97 towns have real energy sovereignty, fewer outages, and can more easily afford to switch to EVs and heat pumps.”

Versant last received a delivery rate hike of 17.5% in November of 2021, and has recently requested an additional 28 percent. CMP last received a hike of 11.5% in August 2021. Supply costs have also increased dramatically, especially for Versant and CMP.

“Today, I directed the Governor’s Energy Office to intervene with the PUC to oppose CMP’s request for a rate increase,” said Governor Janet Mills. “While improving our electric system is critical to ensuring a strong grid, the timing of these costs must be balanced against the high costs – including already high energy prices – that are hurting Maine people and businesses right now. CMP pursuing this filing at this time is not in the best interests of Maine people, and we oppose it.”

Governor Mills has also said that she will direct the Governor’s Energy Office to oppose a potential forthcoming filing from Versant, which recently announced that it intends to seek an increase of $10.50 per month – or about $126 a year – from the average residential ratepayer in its service area of Maine starting in the summer of 2023.

Transitioning Maine to renewable energy to reduce energy prices is a priority of the Mills Administration.

Our Power is a group of Maine ratepayers, business leaders, energy experts, conservationists, and others committed to putting the Pine Tree State’s energy future in the hands of Mainers.

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