Last week, the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities, and Technology (EUT) committee had a work session on LD 1634, An Act To Create the Maine Generation Authority, introduced by Rep. Nicole Grohoski (D-Ellsworth). LD 1634 was carried over from the First Session of the 130th Maine Legislature and was the Maine State Chamber’s top “carryover of concern” in the EUT committee this session. We are happy to report that the majority report on LD 1634 will be “ought not to pass” with the two Democratic senators – Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Eloise Vitelli, and Senate Chair, Sen. Mark Lawrence – voting against this legislation and siding with the five Republicans on the committee to make the majority report “ought not to pass” by a vote of 7 to 6.
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce supports policies and regulations that create certainty for Maine businesses. When we survey our members, energy and energy costs are always one of the top issues for businesses that operate in Maine – in our most recent Making Maine Work report, it was not different. LD 1634 represents a major energy policy shift for the state of Maine. The proposal contained within LD 1634 would go from our current system of privately held power generation that competes in an open marketplace to a publicly-owned generation authority. That is a significant shift and one with many potential unknown outcomes.
Our current electric utility structure took years to develop and was debated thoroughly before the legislature. In fact, the discussions of our current system began in 1995, and deregulation occurred in 2000. On policy decisions of such significance as those proposed in LD 1634 we urge this committee and the full legislature to proceed with caution as there are so many unknowns to such a significant policy decision.
As this bill moves forward through the full Legislature, the Maine State Chamber will continue to voice our opposition to LD 1634 and make sure that the full legislature accepts the majority “ought not to pass” report. For additional information or questions, please contact Ben Lucas, government relations specialist, by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 111, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.