AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage issued a statement Thursday after the Public Utilities Commission approved an increase in transmission and distribution rates for electricity.
"Electric rates are extremely important for our elderly, who are on fixed incomes and cannot afford any rate increases, and for our businesses, which must compete nationally and internationally with regions that offer lower electricity rates. These rates are also a factor in attracting new investments in our state. Instead of the old way of simply adding surcharges to the cost of energy and signing long-term contracts that raise costs for ratepayers, Maine must increase our access to natural gas, hydro power and any other source that lowers the bottom-line rate for electricity. Despite our Administration's efforts to lower electricity rates, old policies from the past two administrations continue to fail Maine," said Governor LePage.
The LePage Administration has been focused on lowering rates for Mainers, having proposed and successfully allocated $1.5 million annually to lower rates for Mainers. In addition, the Governor has advocated for increasing the capacity of natural gas pipeline into New England, which would allow the lowest-priced natural gas to power the region, rather than oil or expensive imported natural gas from overseas.
In addition, the Governor has advocated more competition for the state's renewable-energy policies and allowing all renewable sources, including large hydroelectricity, to power Maine.