Energy Deregulation in Maine: An Overview
Maine electricity deregulation provides more than 60% of the population the ability to compare electrical rates and choose plans from several electric suppliers. By presenting many plans from different reputable Maine suppliers, Choose Energy helps you make the best energy decisions possible, showing all potential cancellation fees, monthly fees and even plans sourced from renewable energy such as wind power.
In addition to customer choice and lower prices, deregulation has positively impacted Maine residents through more environmentally friendly renewable energy choices and a reduction on oil dependency. Maine’s Legislature has created incentives and subsidies for wood-fired, hydro-electric and wind generators as early as the 1980’s. This gave Maine a head start, particularly in the Northwest to leverage green energy sources. Renewables produce 60% of Maine’s net electricity generation, the highest share in the eastern United States
Although energy deregulation in Maine has been around for a while – since 2000 – many Maine residents are still unclear on the impact and benefits. We’ve compiled our frequently asked questions to help you understand what deregulation is all about.
Maine Power: Common Questions about Energy Choice
I decided to choose a new retail electricity supplier. Will reliability or service of my electicity change in any way?
No way! Your local utility, Emera Maine or Central Maine Power, is responsible for delivering electricity to your home or business, regardless of the supplier you select. They upkeep the power lines, and are regulated by the Maine PUC, (Public Utility Commission). If the electricity goes out or your experience other issues, you can call your utility as you’ve always done. The contact number is on the electricity bill.
What has deregulation changed?
A whole lot. Briefly, suppliers compete to offer consumers better energy rates. Before 2000, Maine residents received service from only their local utility company. Since 2000 when Maine restructured it electricity market, residents in deregulated services areas have had the ability to select different electricity suppliers from their utility. These companies compete to provide homes and businesses better electricity rates than the default utility. As such, Maine residents have more options and incentives, and can select from many unique plans. These plans can be fixed or variable rates, differ in term length, and many include renewable power. Just like choosing a telephone plan, competition offers better rates and more options. You can choose your ideal electricity supplier that fits you best.
Can every Maine resident choose an energy plan?
No, not all Maine consumers can choose their retail electricity supplier and are stuck with their default utility. Some parts of Maine are serviced by electric cooperatives. Electric cooperatives, or co-ops, are not restructured for deregulation. They are non-profit member-owned utilities that provide energy to their members only. There are many of these, but they are smaller, and the majority of Maine receives service from a larger utility. Over 800,000 Maine residents receive service from 2 major utilities, which are deregulated. The largest cities in Maine, including Portland, have the option to choose a new retail electricity supplier.
California has had problems with deregulation. Could this happen to Maine?
California’s challenge was different to Maine in a few ways. First, California lacked the power reserves that Maine currently has, including renewable energy sources and natural gas piped from Canada. Secondly, Maine has strict consumer protection laws which are regulated by the Public Utility Commission. The PUC has exists to protect consumers, and all companies in the Maine energy space must abide by the laws they write.
Will I lose electricity when the switch occurs?
No. Your utility will continue to provide you with electricity as it has always done. The only thing that changes is your electricity bill, which will list your new electricity supplier’s rate for your electricity. Service will continue to your home or business before you switch, during the switch, and after the switch, with no interruptions.
I’ve read about green energy. What is green energy, and does it relate to deregulation?
Green energy is described as energy generated from renewable sources. Renewable sources are hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. Almost 50% of Maine’s electricity generation comes from renewable sources, mostly from hydropower. Due to deregulation, residents have the choice to select green energy plans, which help the environment.
There are quite a few options… Which electricity supplier should I choose?
We understand and offer information on the best electricity suppliers in Maine. Additionally, Choose Energy’s electricity comparison shopping engine will help you search for and find the perfect plan. Our supplier partners offer fixed and variable rates and also feature renewable energy plans. Choose Energy helps your learn, select & save. Simply enter your zip code and find the best plan for your home or business.