AUGUSTA — Gov. John Baldacci has signed a bill that encourages the development of a “smart grid” electrical transmission system in Maine.

Smart grid integrates new energy and information technology to allow two-way communication between power suppliers and consumers.

Rep. Jon Hinck says his bill makes it easier for residents to generate their own electricity and facilitates use of alternative forms of energy generation. Baldacci signed the Portland Democrat’s bill Tuesday.

Maine utility regulators have already approved Central Maine Power Co.’s plan to invest in a smart grid system that utilizes automated, remote meter reading.

Hinck says he worked with the utility and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on an amendment to his bill to help workers who might lose their jobs due to a smart grid infrastructure.