The Governor follows through on a promise to have her Energy Office fight an increase
Following a directive from Governor Janet Mills, the Governor’s Energy Office today intervened in opposition to Central Maine’s Power’s (CMP) filing for an electricity rate increase with the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
In its filing, CMP is seeking a three-year increase that would raise electric bills on average residential ratepayers in Maine by approximately $10 per month, or $120 year. This request comes at a time of high electricity prices – driven by global volatility in energy markets and New England’s dependence on natural gas – that are now harming Maine families and businesses and are expected to continue into next year.
“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, along with helping Maine people and businesses with increased electricity and heating fuel prices, are priorities of the Mills Administration.
As a result of bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Mills in 2019, Maine has advanced competitive renewable energy procurements that have resulted in 24 renewable energy projects to deliver low-cost, home generated power to Maine ratepayers.
The low-cost renewable energy from three of these projects already in operation resulted in the Maine Public Utilities Commission in June approving electricity rate reductions of 5.5 percent for CMP customers and 4 percent for Versant Power customers.
If all 24 projects under this law were operational in 2022, the Governor's Energy Office estimated that Maine ratepayers would have saved 22 percent on electricity compared to the current standard offer.
The Governor and Legislature have also strengthened the accountability and oversight of Maine’s electric utilities. Governor Mills this year signed historic legislation to significantly reform the state’s approach to utility oversight.
This legislation, LD 1959, sets minimum service standards for service, increases penalties for substandard service, and strengthens the accountability of utilities to protect Maine people.
On energy costs, the Mills Administration has taken several significant actions this year, including:
- Returning more than half of the state’s budget surplus to Maine people through $850 inflation relief checks;
- Pressing for increased funding and expanded eligibility for Federal heating assistance programs to help Maine households with oil bills this winter;
- Securing a one-time bill credit of $90 for tens of thousands of low-income customers of Central Maine Power and Versant;
- Providing $800 in heating cost relief to nearly 13,000 low-income households to help pay for high energy costs;
- Providing up to $1,400 in tax relief for eligible low- and middle-income Maine families and seniors;
- Signing into law LD 2010, sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, that will make a tiered credit of up to $3,000 available to Maine small businesses to offset increases in the standard offer for electricity;
- Through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, Governor Mills has invested $50 million in Federal funds to expand energy efficiency programs for Maine homeowners and renters, hospitality businesses, and municipal and school buildings through Efficiency Maine.