Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Two family-owned Maine companies that are known for selling heating oil and other energy products plan to expand their offerings to include electricity.
Dead River Co., based in South Portland, announced its intentions Thursday while a spokesman for C.N. Brown Co. confirmed that the South Paris-based company is developing a plan to provide electricity as soon as November.
Dead River and C.N. Brown will join a competitive market that already includes FairPoint Energy, a subsidiary of northern New England's telephone company, and Electricity Maine, the Auburn-based power supplier that has attracted more than 150,000 customers since starting up more than a year ago.
Last month, Gulf Oil of Framingham, Mass., announced that it will launch Gulf Electricity in Maine. Gulf operates Cumberland Farms convenience stores in Maine.
All of the companies will compete in a market in which wholesale electricity costs have been falling faster than consumers' standard-offer charges, which change each March. That gives them room to sell electricity at a small discount and still make a profit.
Based on current fixed rates and charges, it also gives residents a chance to save a little money.
"Consumers need more choices that allow them greater flexibility when it comes to heating their homes. They want energy efficiency and cost savings," Bob Moore, CEO of Dead River Co., said in a prepared statement.
Moore said Dead River will provide electricity in the areas served by Central Maine Power Co. and Bangor Hydro-Electric Co.
Customers will still rely on CMP and Bangor Hydro to restore transmission and delivery of electricity if there is a power outage.
Gov. Paul LePage's administration praised Dead River Co. for its decision.
"The LePage administration emphasizes options for Maine ratepayers to allow ratepayers to take charge of their energy future," Ken Fletcher, director of the Governor's Energy Office, said in a prepared statement. "We applaud Dead River Company's initiative to provide new and innovative options to save their customers money."
Fletcher said Dead River will also supply off-peak electricity for electric thermal storage units, which convert and store heat in high-density ceramic bricks and supplement a home's heating system.
Twelve years ago, Maine deregulated its electricity industry, providing Mainers with new options that can marginally lower their bills.
C.N. Brown, which operates Big Apple convenience stores in Maine, will soon enter that market.
It has a license from Maine's Public Utilities Commission to provide electricity and must settle a few more issues before it can offer the service, said Jeff Jones, president of the company's Electricity Division.
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: