Protect your access to solar
On January 3, the legislative session begins in Augusta. Now is the best time to reach out and ask your State Senator and Representative to support solar legislation: for Maine people, businesses, our economy, and our environment.

The LePage-appointed Maine Public Utilities Commission and electric utility monopoly Central Maine Power (CMP) want to make it harder for Mainers to produce solar energy for their homes and businesses. Now, they want to instate a new fee that lets utilities charge customers for the power that they make and use themselves at home, even though this power never enters the electrical grid. This charge will go straight from the pockets of hard-working Mainers to the bank accounts of CMP’s overseas shareholders.

What’s even more absurd is that in order for CMP to charge people for solar energy generated and used in their homes and businesses, electricity customers across the state of Maine will have to pay millions of dollars for CMP’s new, unnecessary meter system. This will unnecessarily increase electricity bills. This new and unfair “behind-the-meter tax” harms Maine people, businesses, farms, and others who want to produce their own power. It also hurts efforts to create good solar jobs across the state. It is another example of how CMP’s financial self-interest is driving Maine’s energy policy at the expense of those of us who breathe air—and pay electricity bills, want clean energy jobs, or recognize the need to make the transition from fossil fuels.

In January, legislators have the opportunity to represent you, and stand up to CMP, by voting for LD 1686. Like the 2017 solar bill, LD 1686 stops CMP from charging solar customers for the energy they’re producing and using on site, at the expense of all electricity customers in Maine.

Contact your legislators now to urge them to oppose this fee on solar!

Last summer, CMP aggressively and successfully lobbied against another bill that would have overturned this rule. But we were so close (it failed by only three votes!) because citizens across the state reached out to their legislators and urged them to support solar. Now your lawmakers have another chance to stand up for Mainers and cast a vote in support of solar. Please email and call them to urge them to do so!

On January 11 at 1:00 p.m. there will be a public hearing on this year’s solar bill in front of the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee in Room 211 of the Cross Building across from the State House. If you’re interested in coming to testify in front of the committee, please let me know.

Sophie Janeway
NRCM Climate and Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator

Posted on Friday, January 5, 2018 (Archive on Sunday, February 4, 2018)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre