Many Maine residents already realized that deregulated energy provides more choices especially in green energy at lower cost.
More than 800,000 people have made the switch to alternative electric suppliers since the state started energy deregulation in 2000. Currently 60 percent of Maine’s population lives in energy deregulated areas and is able to take advantage of its benefits.
The goal of Maine energy deregulation is to make electric rates more affordable to consumers. Not only customers get wider choices like fixed-rate plans and renewable energy options, the competitive electricity providers (CEP) also try to entice clients to switch by frequently offering cash-back incentives, smart thermostats and dining coupons.
Since deregulation creates more competition in the energy market, wise consumers tend to compare pricing from various CEPs before making the final switching decision. Add-on options like fixed-term and the renewable content often play as important of a role as overall energy bill.
However, there remain some areas where energy choice isn’t available, either because alternative suppliers are not in the area, or energy is managed by electric cooperatives. These are non-for-profit energy providers whose customers become members and share in the profits at the end of the year.
Maine started heading toward deregulation in the 1980s when its legislature developed subsidies and incentives for some alternative energy suppliers. The national suppliers that used renewable sources like water or wind, helped the state leverage its green footprint into the utility market. Since then Maine has built the highest share of renewable electricity generation in the country, accounting for 60 percent of the state’s net electricity.
Consumers are often concerned that switching to a CEP might affect electricity in their homes. What many do not realize is that the power will still be delivered by local utilities like Emera Maine or Central Maine Power. In case a CEP becomes incapable to supply electricity, the utility companies will take over and fill the gap. The Maine Public Utility Commission regulates the system, making sure everything operates smoothly, and the deregulation is not detrimental to the end-customers.
Clearly the biggest advantage of energy deregulation is the ability to shop and choose the lowest-priced CEP, and save money on electric bills. Some residents reduced their energy costs by as much as 32 percent annually simply by switching suppliers. Switching CEP is simple, there is no additional fees involved, and the benefits are clear – reduced bills and support of renewable alternatives. You could benefit too by comparing electric rates from the top suppliers NOW
Central Maine Power Service Area16.63 ¢ per KWh
Unitil Service Area
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