As a member of the Our Power coalition, which seeks to convert Central Maine Power and Versant Power to a consumer-owned utility in order to better serve the public in Maine, I appreciated your editorial of Feb. 3 concerning the governor’s new bill (“Our View: Bill could give Maine better utilities”). I particularly agree with your opinion that “people need to know that regulators are on their side and making decisions that favor the public interest and not the companies.”

However, statutes that currently govern the Public Utilities Commission do not entirely support the proposition that regulators are supposed to be on the side of the public and not the companies. For example, Maine law governing the PUC provides that the commission must “… ensure that the rates of public utilities subject to rate regulation are just and reasonable to customers and public utilities (emphasis added) … .” Therefore, with respect to rate setting, the PUC is currently obligated to look after the interests of company shareholders just as much as ratepayers.

If CMP and Versant were converted to a consumer-owned utility, there would be no shareholders. Only then would the PUC be able to do what you suggested: Make
decisions that favor the public interest.

Wayne R. Jortner

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