AUGUSTA – Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) today submitted legislation designed to lower electricity costs in Maine.
His bill, LD 1339, “An Act To Provide Relief to Maine Ratepayers,” had a public hearing today before the Maine Legislature’s Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee.
“Electricity costs have long been identified as one of Maine’s biggest economic problems,” Senator Thibodeau said. “Last year, ratepayers saw huge spikes on their electric bills, and that didn’t need to happen to the extent that it did. My bill aims to control costs that are unnecessarily inflated.”
The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that is currently in place in Maine drives up energy costs by requiring electricity providers to buy renewable energy credits (REC) at much higher rates than those of many other states.
Senate President Thibodeau’s bill, LD 1339, does not suspend the RPS. It simply suspends the requirement if the cost of energy becomes too high, adversely affecting the Maine economy.
In addition, it would require the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to reject all bids to provide standard offer service if none of the bids come in at less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour.
“This is a very reasonable bill that would act as a relief valve for energy costs in Maine. The standard offer rate for Maine’s two major electricity providers is currently 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour. An increase to 10 cents would represent an extraordinary spike and would be a huge hardship to ratepayers.
“I am all for renewable power, but at what point do we stop asking Mainers to subsidize the high costs of these power sources? We need to find ways to lower electricity costs for businesses and homeowners,” Senator Thibodeau said.