AUGUSTA — On Wednesday, the Maine Senate unanimously approved a bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, that would deliver rate relief to more than 60 eligible businesses that did not receive the energy credit authorized by the Legislature last year.
LD 1971, “Resolve, to Ensure that Eligible Customers Receive Payments from the Energy Rate Relief Fund,” responds to a billing issue that prevented a select group of eligible customers from receiving a credit on their energy bill.
“Our goal with this program was to support businesses with high-energy usage in rural Maine, like dairy farmers, convenience stores and many others, that have been hit hard by sky-high electric rates. This bill would make sure that those who were unfairly penalized by an application error get the relief they deserve,” said President Jackson. “I’m grateful the Legislature could come together and follow through on our promise.”
In 2022, President Jackson introduced legislation — LD 2010, An Act to Help Maine Residents with High Electricity Costs — creating a tiered credit for eligible small businesses and organizations that were impacted by increases in electricity costs caused by the spike in the price of natural gas and its effect on the standard offer. The program successfully delivered energy relief to just under 3,000 businesses that are considered “medium-general service” under the standard offer. However, an application glitch prevented more than 60 businesses from receiving the relief they were owed.
LD 1971 resolves this issue using existing funds from the Department of Economic Advancement and Community Development to complete these payments. The measure faces additional votes in the House and Senate.