November 30, 2022

Citizen Initiative for Consumer-Owned Utilities Found Valid with 69,735 Signatures

AUGUSTA — The citizen initiative petition effort to create a consumer-owned utility has been found valid, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows confirmed today.

The petitions for “An Act To Create the Pine Tree Power Company, a Nonprofit, Customer-owned Utility” had been in circulation since October 22, 2021. On October 31, 2022 the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions received 10,279 petition forms with 80,154 signatures of voters who support the initiative.

Staff members at the Bureau completed the process of certifying all the petitions and found 69,735 valid signatures, while 10,419 were not valid. A minimum of 63,067 signatures from registered Maine voters was required for citizen initiatives submitted following the 2018 gubernatorial election (not less than 10% of the total votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election), thus the petition has been deemed valid by Secretary Bellows. The text of the decision is attached.

The initiative to create a consumer-owned utility will now go to the Legislature for consideration, per the provisions of the Maine Constitution. The Legislature can choose to enact the bill as written or to send it forward to a statewide vote in November 2023.