Meeting Maine’s Electricity Needs
A few months ago, the cost of electric power was predicted to skyrocket this year in Maine in response to ongoing supply issues with natural gas, nearly doubling the cost of standard offer services from energy suppliers. While the average price increase is thought to be about $30 per household, many have seen their monthly bills jump by hundreds of dollars.
Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli is proposing a third option. LD 1913, “An Act To Review Strategies for Improving Utility Rate Affordability and To Provide Utility Relief,” would direct the Public Utilities Commission to create a relief program to help seniors and other struggling Mainers pay for their energy bills, including bills from this winter, and any late fees that might have accrued. To ensure that these relief funds work for as long as possible, the Public Utilities Commission would establish, alongside Efficiency Maine, an education program regarding energy-efficient upgrades and applying for other financial relief programs.
The bill would also direct the Public Advocate to create a commission of stakeholders to review utility rates and come up with a plan to ensure that Maine people will be able to afford their energy bills as the state modernizes its electric grid and moves toward energy independence.
“The unfortunate fact is that while we’re investing in energy independence, we’re still at the mercy of fossil fuel companies,” Senator Vitelli said in a guest column published in the Portland Press Herald. “Increasing or fluctuating energy costs are especially difficult for low-income families, seniors and those with disabilities who are on fixed incomes. I strongly believe the measures in this bill will provide real relief to those who need it the most.”
Mainers for Working Families applauds Senator Vitelli for taking this important action to keep electricity affordable for all Mainers. With the need for electricity especially high in the winter months, we need our leaders in Augusta to do everything possible to ensure energy costs are manageable.