Phil Bartlett, Maine State Senate District Six  

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Senator Bartlett's Energy Bill Passes Committee Vote with Strong Bipartisan Support

March 25, 2008

Senator Phil Bartlett said Tuesday that the Utilities and Energy Committee voted 10 to two in favor of a bill that would empower Maine to better control its energy future and end its relationship with the ISO New England regional transmission organization.

Over the past few years, Maine ’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and concerned consumers have reported to the Legislature that ISO New England's rules, policies, practices and methods of allocating costs among the New England states have been prejudicial to the interests of Maine consumers.

“I am pleased with the strong bipartisan support for this bill. It is a testament to the importance of this bill and to the need for meaningful change in our relationship with ISO New England,” said Senator Bartlett.

During earlier testimony before the committee, Senator Bartlett, who is also the Senate chair of the Utilities and Energy Committee and sponsor of the legislation said the central question before Maine is “How can we better control our energy future?” He concluded that the “the status quo is not a good deal for Maine, and that action is needed to better position our state to be in a place where we are not so reliant on southern New England to control our electricity and energy rates.”

LD 2254, Resolve, Regarding ISO New England states that if the PUC determines that ending Maine’s membership in ISO New England is in our state’s best interest, then it shall order Maine's three investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities to file a plan to form an alternative structure. The new structure would encourage the development of indigenous renewable power resources to directly interconnect and expand transmission systems.

Senator Bartlett said, “The bill sends a clear message that this Legislature is serious about reforming ISO New England to protect Maine ratepayers or it will simply get out of the arrangement.”

More information about the bill, LD 2254 is available online.