Mills has a chance to fill key energy post as LePage appointee’s PUC term ends
The 6-year term of Bruce Williamson, an economist who was nominated to the Maine Public Utilities Commission by then-Gov. Paul LePage in 2015, ended in March.
As Mills zeroes in on a PUC commissioner, she also will be considering her pick to head the Office of Public Advocate, an independent agency that represents consumers in utility matters.
To hit those targets, Ahearn said, the PUC will have to “step up its game” to direct Maine’s utilities to upgrade the grid.
“To achieve those goals, we’ve got to electrify and do it fast,” she said.
Of course, there’s a cost to making such upgrades. How that spending is shared between utility shareholders and electric ratepayers is a consistent source of tension in PUC decisions, one that may become magnified during the term of a new regulator.
“We’re talking about completely remaking our grid infrastructure, moving toward beneficial electrification and a new clean-energy supply,” said Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association. “All those things will require a significant oversight role at the PUC.”
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