Plan for consumer-owned utility in jeopardy in Maine

June 18, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A plan for a consumer-owned utility in Maine is in jeopardy after the Senate voted down a proposal it had initially approved.

The proposal by Democratic Rep. Seth Berry would create an independent nonprofit organization called Pine Tree Power Company to replace Central Maine Power and Versant. The Maine Senate passed a preliminary vote in favor of the move earlier this week, but voted it down by one vote on final enactment on Thursday night.

The Maine Legislature has adjourned, and is unlikely to return until June 30, leaving the proposal in limbo for now. It had also faced the prospect of a veto from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

The bill would have sent the issue to voters in the state. Berry asked that adjournment be delayed so an amendment to the bill could be completed, but the request was denied, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Supporters of the proposal have cited high utility costs and service interruptions. The utilities have pushed back at the idea.