Governor Mills calls on Central Maine Power to not file the rate request; says if they do she will direct Energy Office to intervene in opposition and that PUC should reject it
Governor Janet Mills and Public Advocate Bill Harwood today announced their opposition to Central Maine’s Power’s (CMP) notice of intent to file for a rate increase. In its notice, the utility says it will request a three-year rate increase that will result in an increase of roughly $10 per month for the average residential ratepayer in Maine to be phased in late 2023. CMP’s announcement comes at a time of record-high electricity rates – driven by global volatility in the energy markets and New England’s dependence on natural gas – that are now causing harm to Maine families and businesses.
“Maine people are already struggling with sky high costs from record inflation, including high electricity rates that are the result of New England’s dependance on expensive, harmful fossil fuels. For CMP to say they want to heap added costs onto Maine people adds insult to injury. It’s outrageous,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I call on CMP not to file this request. If they unwisely do, I will direct my Energy Office to intervene in the case to oppose it, and I will call on the Maine Public Utilities Commission to reject it so that Maine sends the clear message to our utilities that their focus needs to be on improving performance, reducing cost burdens, and restoring trust. There is simply no way that increasing folks’ electricity bills right now can be considered just and reasonable. I will fight this.”
“Any increase in electricity rates right now poses an unwanted additional financial burden on Maine ratepayers, for whom the cost of nearly every other necessity is rising,” said William Harwood, Maine’s Public Advocate. “My office will be carefully examining the details of CMP’s request to identify any underlying costs that are out of line and will offer the Public Utilities Commission an alternative recommendation that is consistent with the statutory requirement that CMP’s rates be 'just and reasonable' and prioritizes the welfare of Maine ratepayers.”
Helping Maine people with increased prices for heating fuel and electricity driven by volatile global fossil fuel markets is a priority of the Mills Administration. To date, the administration has taken several significant actions, including:
- Returning more than half of the state’s budget surplus to Maine people through $850 inflation relief checks;
- 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.
- Further, Governor Mills – through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan – has invested $50 million in federal funds to expand energy efficiency programs for Maine homeowners and renters, businesses, and municipal and school buildings through Efficiency Maine.
As a result of bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Mills in 2019, Maine has also advanced competitive renewable energy procurements that have resulted in low-cost, homegrown renewable energy projects that will lower costs for Maine ratepayers. In addition, Governor Mills this month 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.