AUGUSTA – One proposal has Maine’s two largest electric companies up in arms.
Representative Seth Berry is pushing to create the Maine Power Delivery Authority, a utility that is meant to buy out Central Maine Power and Emera Maine.
The bill’s sponsor wanted to eliminate the rates that Mainers have to pay to the electric utilities.
“We pay a monthly electricity bill that includes a very high interest rate that goes to Emera Maine that helps to pay for the multi-million dollar salaries of corporate executives who are far away in Nova Scotia or in Spain. That’s great for them but it hurts us, it comes out of our pockets,” Berry said.
Representative Berry said this proposal would break the monopoly of the current non-Maine based electric companies.
“If you’re up in east or Northern Maine, it’s Emera, Emera or Emera, you don’t have a choice. So this would allow, at least allow us to have a utility that is managed and owned close to home and that would be in our interest close to Maine.”
And he said it doesn’t cost taxpayers a single dollar.
“There’s not a tax dollar involved in this because it is separate, it’s outside of state government and it does not use tax dollars, not a penny of tax dollars to make this transition happen. So that’s a very important thing, it is separate from the state government, a utility kind of like how your municipal water utility is,” Berry said.
But the proposal is not going over well with either of CMP’s or Emera Maine’s presidents.
“Because one of the things that consumers need to know, that customers need to know, that there’s no guarantee if you actually take over CMP and Emera Maine, that rates would be lower or there’d be improved service,” Emera Maine President Michael Herrin said.
Central Maine Power President Doug Herling stated in a news release that the proposal essentially seizes private company assets that are not for sale and there are serious constitutional questions about this proposal and the business community should be concerned about this precedent.