Governor Janet Mills today, Feb. 2, unveiled legislation that significantly reforms and strengthens Maine’s approach to the oversight and accountability of Maine’s electric utilities.
The Governor’s bill, An Act to Ensure Transmission and Distribution Utility Accountability, protects the interests of Maine ratepayers, improves the operation and service of Maine’s electric utilities, and increases oversight and accountability of them.
The legislation requires that the Maine Public Utilities Commission establish minimum standards of service that utilities must deliver for Maine ratepayers. The legislation also empowers the PUC with enhanced authority to crack down on utilities that do not meet these standards by imposing harsher penalties and, if necessary, even forcing the sale of the utility for inadequate service.
“Whether it’s poor customer service, billing problems, or extended power outages, the issues experienced by Maine people over the past several years have made clear that Maine doesn’t have the tools it needs to hold our utilities accountable. It’s time for that to change,” said Governor Janet Mills. “With this bill, we are shifting our approach to Maine’s electric utilities. We will empower the Maine Public Utilities Commission to design improved standards for service and finally give the Commission the tools it needs to ensure that utilities deliver on those standards or face new, harsh consequences. Maine people deserve nothing less than safe, reliable, and affordable service on a strong electric grid. My Administration will work with the Legislature, the Public Advocate, and the Public Utilities Commission to see that happen.”