Maine’s solar policies drive another big electric rate increase but windy Phil Bartlett stresses fossil fuel reduction



Maine regulators approved another big hike to electricity bills Tuesday for customers of the state’s major utilities, driven by solar subsidies that have been criticized by the state’s ratepayer advocate in recent weeks.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission said the $135.7 million in new increases it approved from July 1 through mid-2024 cover so-called stranded costs, which are the impacts of long-term contracts for renewable power and net energy billing programs on Central Maine Power and Versant Power.

The increases come on the heels of both companies getting approval to raise distribution rates in stages starting on July 1. The new stranded rates result from residential and community solar projects with above-market costs. Public Advocate William Harwood said in April that those policies will cost $220 million by 2025, prompting criticism from the solar industry.

The new rates including the stranded costs will also be effective July 1. CMP customers will see an increase of about 5.8 percent, or $5.95 on average, to their monthly electric bill, the commission said. It said Versant Bangor Hydro District will see a rise of 9.3 percent, or $8.77 monthly, and Versant Maine Public District will increase rates about 6.5 percent, or $5.47 per month.

That amounts to a total of $95 million that CMP can collect from customers from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024, according to the utility regulator.....................................

..........................“As with the recent distribution rate increase, we understand that any increase is not ideal and comes at a time when people are already impacted by inflation,” Maine Public Utilities Commission Chair Philip Bartlett said.

He said it is important to realize that a short-term increase will reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. Community solar projects can help drive down costs over the long term, he said................

BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.

Read the full article here:


Maine PUC approves rate hikes for electricity, natural gas utilities

The electricity rate increases are for so-called stranded costs, which include those associated with the controversial net energy billing program that supports solar projects.

Starting July 1, the rate increases will be about $6 per month for CMP customers, and from $5.50 to nearly $9 for Versant customers. These increases come atop those recently approved by the commission, which will cost about $5 per month over the next two years for CMP customers, and about $10 per month for Versant customers.

PUC chair Phil Bartlett noted that the numbers are adding up.

"The timing of this increase is understandably challenging for customers as they face high electricity supply costs," Bartlett said, "as well as higher costs in other areas of the economy."

The commission also approved a 33% distribution-rate increase for customers of Summit Natural Gas.


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Comment by Willem Post on June 15, 2023 at 7:19am

Phil Bartlett is an empty-headed, scare-mongering demagogue, who will further impoverish almost all Mainers, except for his political “friends”

CO2 is a life gas. 
Any level below 300 ppm in the atmosphere is starvation level for the world’s flora, which prefers  about 1000 ppm

The world should have more of it for a thriving flora and fauna

He does not want to understand, if New England uses less fossil fuels, then China, India, etc., will use more fossil fuels, as shown by the consumption history of the last three decades

Anything Europe and the U.S. does regarding reducing CO2 has been MORE THAN OFFSET BY THE REST OF THE WORLD, and that is NOT GOING TO CHANGE ANY TIME SOON.

Comment by Dan McKay on June 14, 2023 at 4:48pm

Net Metering, the right to pick the pockets of Maine people. The Seth Berry led legislature with their cohorts from the PUC, the Governors Energy Office, the Public Advocate, the Augusta Lobbyists, the Media and a whole lot of out of state project developers are all enemies of the people.

Vote out democrats and RINOs before all they allow you to have is an oversized battery attached to your house wiring and given a monthly fixed charge by the government.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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