by Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Project Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine
“The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is out of control. Today the PUC decided Maine is closed for business and intent on destroying jobs in America’s fastest-growing job market. The PUC decision to move the goal posts for the third time in a single year is a slap in the face to hundreds of Maine workers and their families who are investing in greater energy independence for our state.
The PUC has again shown its willingness to put the governor’s whims ahead of its duty to make sound, fair, fact-based, economic decisions.
“Today’s move sends another chill through Maine’s solar industry, and will send consumers and businesses scrambling to keep projects alive. Coming on top of the regulatory chaos of the last year, it tells businesses and investors that Maine is a risky place to do business.
Gross metering—a fee the PUC has told utilities to charge Mainers who use their own solar power—was an unprecedented, costly, and unfair misstep. The PUC’s decision last December to delay gross metering showed how ill-conceived this anti-solar measure really is. Today’s decision shows they either don’t understand or don’t care how their decisions impact Maine people and businesses.
“Today’s action should show it is more important than ever for the Legislature to act immediately to restore sane, basic rules that protect Maine homeowners and businesses. The Legislature needs to act now to provide some basic regulatory certainty so Mainers can invest and create and maintain jobs. The fate of the narrowly crafted solar bill—LD 1444—will be determined by Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate. They need to decide whether they care about predictable regulations for Maine businesses and reducing electricity costs, or will bow to the governor’s unrelenting, self-contradictory, and destructive ideology.”