Emera Maine

Joel Page / Associated Press File

An ambitious proposal to convert Maine’s private electric utilities into a consumer-owned entity got its first public hearing in Augusta on Tuesday.

Courtesy Emera Maine

Nova Scotia energy company Emera is selling its Maine subsidiary to another Canadian company, ENMAX Corporation, for $959 million.

ELLSWORTH, Maine - A Bar Harbor family contends electric utility Emera Maine's negligence contributed to a fire that killed a woman and her adult son last year.

Joel Page / Associated Press File

The House chairman of the Legislature’s Energy Committee put a bold proposal on the table on Monday: create a new authority to buy out electricity system poles and wires owned by Central Maine Power and Emera Maine.

About 3,700 homes and businesses are still without electric service as of about 11 o'clock this morning in the wake of high winds Saturday.

HALLOWELL, Maine - Maine regulators have cut Emera Maine's proposed rate increase by nearly half but AARP Maine says the 5.34-percent increase is still too high.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday reduced Emera Maine's request for a 12-percent boost in the distribution portion of customers' bills.
AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham said the organization was disappointed that the panel allowed a third rate increase in just five years. She said customers, especially those on fixed incomes, will find "any rate increase to be a hardship.''

PORTLAND, Maine - More than 11,000 customers remain without power in Maine in the wake of a strong winter storm that brought ice, freezing rain and snow to the state.
Central Maine Power says the outages are scattered all over the state. The highest concentration is in coastal Lincoln County, which had more than 5,200 customers without power at midday Wednesday.
Kennebec, Somerset and Androscoggin counties reported more than 1,000 customers without power at midday.

Maine utility regulators plan to open an investigation into a stalled proposal by Emera Maine to build and own a “microgrid” electricity generation project in Hampden.

The project is part of a $12 million plan in Maine and Canada to explore the potential of ultralocal, renewable energy supplies. Just why the regulators are revisiting what had been a closed case is, for the moment, a mystery.

Just a few days after power was finally restored to nearly all of the hundreds of thousands of Maine customers who lost it in last week's storm, about 28,000 people are once again without it at this hour.

The culprit, once again, is gusty winds. The National Weather Service says winds are now gusting at 20-30 miles per hour across the state, with some gusts up to 40.

Central Maine Power is reporting just under 22,000 outages. CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice says these winds are causing more outages than usual because of last week's storm.

Electric crews continue to make progress toward restoring power to some 80,000 customers of Emera and Central Maine Power who have been without electricity since a wind storm tore through the state Sunday night and Monday. 

That's down from about half a million customers at the height of the storm. 

"We are at the slowest part of this - and the slowest because you might have four or six bucket trucks on a road that are going to pick up two customers," says Sara Burns, CEO of CMP, Maine's largest utility.

Abukar Adan / Maine Public

Maine’s two major power companies say they are making headway in restoring service to homes and businesses after Sunday night's storm.

Central Maine Power is reporting about 122,000 outages and Emera Maine has reduced the number of without service to 24,000. 

On Monday, those numbers were close to half a million. Still, CMP President Sara Burns says the steady progress is no solace to those who are still waiting in the dark.

ALLAGASH, Maine - A Maine utility says power has been restored to thousands of people in far northern Maine.
Emera Maine said more than 11,400 outages were reported in Aroostook County on Tuesday. The utility said the transmission line that sends electricity to thousands of people in the county tripped, resulting in an interruption of service.
Emera says power was restored later on Tuesday morning. It says the issue was on the Canadian side of the border and the cause remains unknown.

PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine utility says a variety of stormy weather has knocked out power to more than 2,000 customers from the far northern part of the state to Hancock County.

Emera Maine says snow in Aroostook County, a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain in the central highlands and strong, gusty winds Downeast have been keeping electric crews busy from Eagle Lake to Stonington.

Crews will be working throughout Thursday to restore power.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine regulators today voted to conduct a broad audit of management practices at Emera Maine, which operates electricity service for the Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service territories.

Most of the audit concerns cost overruns of millions of dollars for a new computerized billing system - a system which apparently also contributed to billing errors.

Maine Public Utilities Commission staff also raised concerns about a confidential 2014 report that found that among 103 utilities studied nationwide, Emera had the worst record on electricity outages.

Emera Maine is asking regulators to approve a more than 8 percent increase in the rates it charges electricity customers for providing transmission, distribution and billing services in the Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service territories.

But now staff at Maine’s Public Utilities Commission say the state should audit the company’s management to investigate various deficiencies, including a significant rate of power outages.