AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The new year is going to bring higher electric rates for customers of Maine’s two largest utilities.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday approved standard offer bids that will increase bills by about $32 a month for average Central Maine Power residential customers effective Jan. 1. The electricity portion of monthly bills will increase 49% while the total bills will grow 26%, the PUC said.
The PUC also approved new standard offer rates for Versant residential customers on Wednesday and Thursday. Total bills will grow 18.4% and 20.7% for typical customers depending on service district, the PUC said.
The commission cited growing natural gas costs for the increase in the standard offer electric rate that most consumers pay. New England relies heavily on natural gas to power electric plants.
“We recognize that this is a significant increase that comes at a time when consumers are already faced with rising prices due to inflation,” Chairman Philip L. Bartlett II said. While painful, the increase was not as great as expected, and Mainers are paying less than most other New England states, he said.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said her administration is looking to ensure Mainers stay warm this winter while looking to reduce heavy reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels.
“The standard offer prices accepted by the PUC are the direct result of Maine’s overreliance on fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, and the unprecedented volatility in global energy markets since the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” she said in a statement.
Read More: Maine PUC approves rate increase for CMP, Versant customers