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Democrats resolve differences to advance Mills’ utility accountability measure

Central Maine Power
Robert F. Bukaty
In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019 photo, power lines converge on a Central Maine Power substation in Pownal, Maine.

The Democratic legislators who support a takeover of Maine's two largest electricity utilities dropped their opposition Wednesday to a bill designed to hold those same companies more accountable to regulators.

The reversal effectively revives the bill from its near defeat on Tuesday.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills introduced it as a response to widespread customer disenchantment with Central Maine Power and Versant Power, but Democratic lawmakers who support an outright takeover of those two companies had described the governor's proposal as providing "fake accountability" and voted to kill it.

They changed course after supporting an amendment requiring regulators to review the utilities' procurement of goods and services, resulting in a 77-56 vote in the House.

The bill's renewed life was applauded by environmental groups who support a provision that ties grid enhancements to Maine's climate and renewable energy goals.

The measure could soon head to the governor’s Desk for her signature.