PORTLAND (WGME) – Several Maine utility companies are owned by foreign governments, and now one state lawmaker wants any future control changes to become local.
A public hearing was held Tuesday on Representative Seth Berry's amendment to a bill.
The bill would require the Public Utilities Commission to deny any future purchase of a Maine utility by a foreign entity if it risks losses to reliability, customer privacy and safety, regulatory capacity or Maine's economy.
Berry says right now, the two largest shareholders for CMP are Qatar and Norway.
"We're fortunate at the present that all of these nations are allies, but once approved, an ownership structure may last for decades," Berry said. "What happens when today's ally becomes tomorrow's adversary? Maine law is silent on this point. Our laws written largely in the last century provide the PUC with no playbook for the present."
Berry says this bill would not impact any utility company's current structure, saying it's "prospective," not "retroactive," intended to protect Maine’s infrastructure going forward.