Mainers spent $132 million more on electricity than they needed to over 7 years
By Darren Fishell February 21, 2020 Updated: February 25, 2020
Mainers have spent $132.5 million more than they needed to on electricity over the past seven years.
It’s not because of a faulty billing system or a mistake.
It’s because of a legal market for reselling electricity to residential customers that blossomed in 2012 and since 2014 has struggled to compete with the power Mainers get by default, called the standard offer.
The rate from “competitive electricity providers,” can be pennies or fractions of a penny different. When you count that difference across millions of kilowatt-hours and hundreds of thousands of customers in Maine, however, it adds up fast.
As a result, the state’s public advocate wants lawmakers to consider shutting down the entire market, and customers of the largest competitive electricity provider — Electricity Maine — are nearing a settlement in a multimillion dollar class-action lawsuit. Regulators are still considering penalties for the state’s largest supplier.
In 2018 alone, Maine residential customers paid competitive electricity providers $20 million they didn’t need to, according to a Pine Tree Watch analysis of the latest annual reports filed with the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The total is $33.2 million higher when estimating for small business costs, using state power consumption data and federal data from 2012 to 2018.