Gov. Janet Mills veto bill to create consumer-owned utility in Maine



Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday afternoon that she had vetoed a bill to create a consumer-owned utility in Maine. Maine lawmakers narrowly approved the bill last month. The bill would have prompted the buyout of Maine’s two foreign utilities to create Pine Treet Power. Central Maine Power is owned by a Spanish company and Versant is owned by a Canadian company. The bill would have required voters in November to approve the consumer-owned utility. Mills said in her veto message that she had serious concerns about the bill, including its governance structure, funding mechanisms, the wording of the ballot measure, the possibility of protracted litigation, how which new authority would be regulated and likely delays in meeting Maine’s climate goals. Mills said the bill was hastily drafted and amended by the legislature. The governor, however, recognized that Maine’s public services needed to be more efficient. “The time may well be right for the people of the State of Maine to regain control of the assets on which they depend for the lifeblood of our communities – our transportation and distribution services. electricity. And there may be a way to create a utility with a professional board of directors that is clearly eligible to issue low-interest, tax-exempt bonds that would save money for consumers. taxpayers, to get better connectivity with solar and other renewable energies and to promote this administration’s climate goals, ”he said. Supporters said shortly after the governor’s veto was announced that ‘They would start a petition to have the issue put in the 2022 ballot. “I am deeply disappointed with the veto. After gaining the support of the bipartisan majority in the committee, the House and the House nat, we were hoping the governor would also trust Maine voters to weigh in this fall. Over three years of hard work, a diverse group of lawmakers, utilities experts, economists, conservationists, among others, have crafted this policy to meet the complex and urgent needs of our future. energetic. I want to thank all the lawmakers in both houses who understood and supported LD 1708, ”said the sponsor of the bill, Democratic Representative Seth Berry in a statement. Supporters said Pine Tree Power would lower the bills for the state’s 800,000 taxpayers, while opponents argued that a consumer-owned utility would be more costly for the Mainers. The bill now returns to the legislature where lawmakers will decide whether to maintain or override the governor’s veto.

Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday afternoon that she had vetoed a bill to create a consumer-owned utility in Maine.

Maine lawmakers narrowly approved the bill last month.

The bill would have prompted the buyout of Maine’s two foreign utilities to create Pine Treet Power. Central Maine Power is owned by a Spanish company and Versant is owned by a Canadian company.

The bill would have required voters in November to approve the consumer-owned utility.

Mills said in it veto message that she had serious concerns about the bill, including its governance structure, funding mechanisms, the wording of the ballot measure, the potential for protracted litigation, how the new authority would be regulated, and likely delays in meeting Maine’s climate goals.

Mills said the bill was hastily drafted and amended by the legislature.

The governor, however, recognized that Maine’s public services needed to be more efficient.

“It may well be that the time has come for the people of the State of Maine to take back control of the assets on which they depend for the vital energy of our communities – our transportation and transportation services. electricity distribution. And there may be a way to create a public service with a professional board of directors that is clearly eligible to issue low-interest, tax-exempt bonds that would save taxpayers money, to get better connectivity with solar power and other renewables, and to promote this administration’s climate goals, ”Mills mentioned.

Supporters said shortly after the governor’s veto was announced that they would launch a campaign of petitions to have the issue put on the 2022 poll.

“I am deeply disappointed with the veto. After gaining the support of the bipartisan majority in the committee, the House and the Senate, we hoped the governor too would trust voters in Maine to weigh in this fall. Over three years of hard work, a diverse group of lawmakers, utility experts, economists, conservationists, among others, have crafted this policy to meet the complex and urgent needs of our future. energetic. I want to thank all the lawmakers in both houses who understood and supported LD 1708, ”said the sponsor of the bill, Democratic Representative Seth Berry in a statement.

Supporters said Pine Tree Power would lower the bills for the state’s 800,000 electricity taxpayers, while opponents argued that a consumer-owned utility would be more costly for Mainers.

The bill is now returning to the legislature where lawmakers will decide whether to maintain or overturn the governor’s veto.



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