AUGUSTA —Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, has introduced a bill that aims to protect consumers from utility companies and tightens oversight of Maine’s utility regulators. LD 1120, “An Act To Protect Consumers from Price Gouging by Utility Companies,” would prevent double-digit rate increases for electricity bills and would allow the governor to replace members of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
“The time has come to hold CMP and other utilities accountable to prevent price gouging and inaccurate billing,” said Sen. Chenette. “For far too long, the Public Utilities Commission has been enabling utility companies to write themselves a blank check and by doing so allowing foreign shareholders to profit off Maine residents.”
The bill would make members of the PUC serve at the pleasure of the governor, instead having set terms, and would change their compensation levels to match the average annual wage in the state. To protect consumers, LD 1120 would limit the increases in the rates utility companies can charge to less than 10 percent in any 12-month period.
A public hearing is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee in the Cross Building, room 211.