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Maine Legislature Sustains Mills' Veto Of Consumer-Owned Utility Bill

Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, the lead sponsor of the bill, responds to the governor’s veto in the Hall of Flags of the State House.
Steve Mistler
/
Maine Public
Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, the lead sponsor of the bill, responded to the governor’s veto in the Hall of Flags of the State House.

The Maine Legislature has sustained Democratic Gov. Janet Mills' veto of a bill that would've asked voters to buyout the state's two largest utilities and replace them with a consumer-owned electric company.

The House voted 68 to 65 to override the governor's veto, but that was well short of the two-thirds support needed.

The outcome was foreshadowed late last month when supporters of the bill needed to make a last-minute amendment to enact it.

Advocates for the consumer-owned utility say they'll now take their proposal directly to Maine voters by collecting signatures to put the bill on the ballot next year.

They say the Versant Power and Central Maine Power have failed their customers with poor reliability, increased rates and and management that prioritizes investor earnings over customers.

Opponents, including the governor, say that the proposal was hastily drafted and inadequately vetted.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.