AUGUSTA—Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, joined lawmakers, labor advocates, and both Emera Maine consumers and employees to raise concerns over the sale of Emera Maine to the Canadian utility company, Enmax. Major concerns include Enmax’s financial health, history of overbilling customers and the recent layoff of 80 workers in Calgary. Other speakers included Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, Rep. Nicole Grohoski, D-Ellsworth, Dick Rogers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #1837 Business Manager, Renee Gilman, Business Representative at IBEW Local 1837, and Laurie Osher, small business owner.
The closing date for the sale is set for late 2019. The acquisition is subject to approval from a number of state and federal regulatory bodies, including the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
“More than 150,000 people in Northern Maine depend on Emera Maine for electricity, including myself. With so much at stake, we need to make sure the sale of Emera to Enmax doesn’t leave hardworking families and seniors in the dark,” said President Jackson. “The PUC shouldn’t allow this deal to move forward unless it is in the best interest of Mainer ratepayers.”
The acquisition of Emera is reminiscent of Fairpoint’s acquisition of Verizon back in 2008. The merger resulted in Fairpoint filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy followed by poor customer service, outsourcing of jobs and pension freezes.
In a petition to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Enmax stated that it would maintain employment levels in Maine, keep the corporate headquarters in Bangor and that it would not pass along acquisition costs to Maine consumers. The company also outlined incentives for the transition to heat pumps and to spur economic development in the area of service.
Emera currently serves customers in Aroostook County and parts of Penobscot County. The company employs an estimated 400 Mainers.