Gov. Mills signs Sen. Tipping bill to increase accountability of public utilities
AUGUSTA — On June 23, Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Tipping, D-Orono, into law. The bill, LD 325, “An Act to Require Transparency in Public Utility Advertising Expenditures,” will ban public utilities from spending of ratepayer money on political contributions, political advertising and lobbying.
“Electricity rates have increased drastically, stretching many families to the limit,” said Sen. Tipping. “At the same time, we’ve seen increased advertising and lobbying from utilities, not all of it reported or regulated. The Governor’s signature ensures that utility companies will be held more accountable moving forward, making sure they are not taking advantage of their customers and creating greater transparency into their spending. I’m thankful for everyone who helped get this bill into law.”
LD 325 will require utilities to publicly disclose money spent on public advertising and lobbying through quarterly and annual reports, which will be publicly accessible. Utility companies will not be allowed to file charitable and political donations as operating expenses and can’t use ratepayer funds to pay for these donations.
The bill will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.