William Harwood, Maine’s public advocate, said it in a report released last year and said it again last Thursday: The state’s competitive electric provider program, in place since 2000, is terrible for consumers, terrible for climate goals and needs to go.

How terrible? Last week’s report put a staggering number on it. Electricity customers paid $80 million more with competitive electricity supply companies in the six years between 2016 and 2022 than they would have at the standard offer rate. For each of those years, more than 52,000 bill-paying Mainers lost out by not paying the standard offer rate.

According to last year’s report, rates charged by competitive electric suppliers were on average 70% higher in 2021 than the standard offer. Competition hasn’t been working for these customers. What now?

The Legislature should be giving close consideration to the best means of repeal. In the meantime, reform – which should not wait for another damning report from Harwood’s office to begin – needs to start by first requiring more clear information, in writing, from electricity companies to this vulnerable minority of customers. Aggressive marketing tactics distort the market.

One energy supply trade group referred to such a requirement as “unnecessarily burdensome” in legislative testimony last year. Nowhere near as burdensome as that $80 million discrepancy, surely.

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