A lawyer for the dark money conduit, Mainers for Clean Energy Jobs, said the financial ties between it and the utility would have been disclosed by Sept. 7 under new ethics guidelines. But now that the referendum is off the ballot, the extent of those connections will go unreported.
Maine is looking to successful financing models in other states as it seeks ways to fund a statewide energy overhaul and climate adaptation measures.
6,000 Maine solar projects remain in limbo due to uncertainty over federal decision on net metering petition
More than 57,000 organizations and individuals formally opposed a recently filed petition that would remove Maine’s ability to set solar credit standards and shift control to the federal government. The change would impact thousands of Mainers who have already committed to solar projects.
Filed while the solar industry is reeling from the economic impacts of the coronavirus and state governments are focused on the pandemic, the petition could roll back net metering and unravel one of Gov. Mills’ key efforts to boost clean energy in Maine.
Private electricity suppliers, which promised rates lower than the government-set default, instead cost Mainers an extra $132 million over seven years.
Electric utilities everywhere are re-examining antiquated ways of operating as users demand cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy sources – in Maine, that could mean creating a consumer-driven utility.
The Legislature’s investigative arm launched a preliminary inquiry of the state-sponsored Maine PowerOptions electricity program Feb. 17, a month after a story by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting raised questions about the group’s transparency, oversight and benefits for its members.
For the first time in 16 years, staff of Maine PowerOptions appeared before lawmakers Feb. 2 to explain how the quasi-state electricity consortium brings together hundreds of municipalities and school districts across the state to help them buy power.
Part 1: Five years after a scandal at the Maine Turnpike Authority landed its director in prison, a quasi-state program — Maine PowerOptions (MPO), which brings together municipalities, school districts and other state nonprofits to purchase electricity in bulk — lacks transparency and effective oversight.
Part 2: Both a confidential state probe and a subsequent independent investigation by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, including a review of a confidential agreement between Maine PowerOptions and its electricity supplier, raise questions about whether the quasi-state program is living up to its original mission of saving Maine taxpayers money.
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