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The State of Maine began the process deregulating their electricity market in 1995. After two years and an extensive study, the Public Utilities Commission and the Working Group in Electric Industry Restructuring submitted a proposal to deregulate Maine's electric industry.
Maine energy deregulation went into effect in May of 1997.
Utilities are the entities in charge of the operation and maintenance of the energy infrastructure, like wires and towers. The local utilities in Maine are Central Maine Power and Versant (Emera). Each utility is responsible for transporting electricity from the generators to residential homes and businesses in their specific region of Maine.
Energy providers in Maine, including Public Power, Entrust, and Direct Energy to name a few, are the competitive energy retailers. Each energy provider buys energy from the wholesale energy market (the generators) and then re-sells it to energy customers (homeowners, renters, and businesses).
In most cases, the customer (homeowner, renter, or business) signs a contract with an energy provider for a specific energy plan. The basic energy plan details the rate class, the energy rate per kWh, the contract term length (6, 12, 24, 36 months), and other contract terms like the cancellation fee policy.
In a competitive electricity market like Maine, both commercial and residential customers are provided with energy choice – meaning all customers get to choose their specific energy supplier, plan and rate, and then switch – based on any existing contract terms, renewal dates and fees.
As an electricity customer, it’s important to track your contract renewal date. Shopping in the months leading up to renewal date allows you to track trends and pull the trigger on a new rate when rates drop. In most cases, you can lock in your next energy plan 6 months (or more) in advance. When switching energy plans, keep these 5 easy steps in mind:
This is the easy part and it starts online. Today, businesses have a variety of online websites and tools to research and compare energy providers, plans, and rates. The best way to compare providers is to use a simple website like EnergyBot. In less than 5 minutes, you can enter basic information about your business, like your zip code and monthly electricity bill, and then compare dozens of top energy suppliers in Ohio to find the lowest energy rate.
When you are comparing electricity plans, it will pay – literally – to take time to review the plan details, contract terms, and legal copy. Energy companies may entice you with a low rate, yet the fine print may reveal that it is a variable rate – which is only applicable if you stay in a specific range of energy (kWh) usage each month. It’s also important to review the contract term, cancellation fees, and out clauses before signing up for a new plan.
It’s important to do your research and if you’re short on time, EnergyBot makes it simple. Check out this article to learn more about the different types of energy plans and rates.
In many cases, the energy supplier, broker or website that you are using to find a new electricity plan will ask you to upload your most recent electricity bill. Although this may feel a bit intrusive, it provides pertinent account information and it’s important to securing the best energy rate available for your business. Your energy bill has your business information as well as the data that outlines your monthly energy usage.
To add, your new energy supplier will require proof of your energy usage before you can switch and your electricity bill is the easiest way to meet the requirement.
If you own or manage a larger business with high energy usage (and higher monthly bill), then it may be beneficial to request a custom pricing quote. As a larger business may have much higher monthly energy usage or inconsistent energy usage, energy suppliers require a comprehensive review of your business’ energy usage to provide a custom quote on a new plan and rate. At EnergyBot, you can get a custom quote for free.
After authorizing a switch to a new energy provider, you will receive a confirmation email with the plan details and start date. It’s very important to review the plan you authorized and confirm the new start date. The transition to a new supplier will be seamless…you won’t even notice until you get the electricity bill the next month.
Energy suppliers offer two different types of plans for residential and business customers: a fixed-rate plan or a variable-rate plan.
Each type of plan has its respective pros and cons. As a Maine customer, it’s important to understand the two types of plans before signing up for an electricity plan for your home or business.
The simple definition of a fixed-rate plan is that you are signing a contract with an energy supplier that offers a fixed-rate – meaning that the rate will remain constant for the term of the contract. Regardless of weather, natural events like tornados, or market volatility, your rate will not change. In most cases, fixed-rate plans have a term length of 6, 12, 24, or 36 months.
The simple definition of a variable-rate plan is that you are signing a contract with an energy supplier that offers a variable-rate – meaning that the rate may change on a monthly basis based on market factors. Variable-rate plans offer more flexibility but also present more volatility in pricing which may impact your monthly electricity bill.
It is important to audit your energy usage and then select the right plan – a fixed-rate plan or a variable-rate plan – before signing a contract with an energy supplier.
In 2019 Maine's passed legislation to help promote renewable energy efforts with the goal of generating 80% of the states energy from renewable sources by 2030 and reducing emissions 80% by 2050.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission, known as MPUC, is the public utilities commission of the U.S. state of Maine, charged with the regulation of utility service providers, including electricity, natural gas, and telecommunications. MPUC was created to assure that all Maine residents and businesses have adequate, safe and reliable public utility services at a fair price.
In doing so, MPUC impacts every business in Maine – as it regulates all retail providers of utility services, including electric and natural gas companies, local and long-distance telephone companies, water and wastewater companies, rail and trucking companies. Recently, the MPUC gained responsibility for facilitating competitive utility choices for Maine consumers.