Community Engagement

Maine legislative committee OKs plan for task force to study consumer-owned authority

A committee in the Maine Legislature on July 24 voted to recommend the formation of a task force that would create a proposed transition and business plan for a state consumer-owned electric utility.

At issue is Maine Rep. Seth Berry's proposal to create a "Maine Power Delivery Authority" (LD 1646).

Berry last week announced amendments to his original version of LD 1646, which included the direct election of most board members of the proposed Maine Power Delivery Authority.

The Maine Power Delivery Authority would replace investor-owned Central Maine Power Company and Versant Power (formerly known as Emera Maine), which are majority owned by Iberdrola of Spain and Emera of Canada, respectively.

The amendment advanced by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee last week has multiple parts, including the establishment of a Consumer Ownership Evaluation Task Force, which will be responsible for creating the state’s transition plan to Maine Power Delivery Authority, developing a business plan and conducting due diligence studies.

The amendment also authorizes the Efficiency Maine Trust to acquire power generation assets and directs the Maine Public Utilities Commission to gather additional information on financial aspects of the transition.

The Associated Press reported that it is not clear “if the new proposal will be considered by the full Legislature since there’s no agreement for lawmakers to return to Augusta for a special session to complete their work.” Maine’s State House is located in Augusta.

Study finds that new entity would save $9 billion

In related news, a study released this week found that the state would save $9 billion over the first 30 years if Maine’s privately-owned utilities were converted to consumer ownership.

The research, produced by Dr. Richard Silkman of Competitive Energy Services, highlights savings in every year that can help accelerate Maine's transition to a clean, electrified economy, Maine House Democrats said in a July 21 news release related to the new study.

APPA offers municipalization resources

The American Public Power Association offers resources on municipalization including Public Power for Your Community, a comprehensive guide that outlines the steps to form a new public power utility.

Additional information about APPA municipalization resources is available here.