Lawmakers continue talks on bill to make single consumer-owned utility

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - State lawmakers Thursday discussed a bill proposing a consumer-owned utility for Maine.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, would have the state buy Maine's two large electric companies -- Central Maine Power and Emera Maine.

This discussion comes a day after a consultant told the legislative committee their study found this would be legal if passed.

Berry says there have been far too many problems with the current system, and Mainers deserve better.

"Both of those utilities are not doing well in terms of price or in terms of reliability," said Berry. "We can do better if have a consumer-owned utility. On average, they cost 13% less and they're twice as reliable."

We're told the companies would be purchased through low-interest revenue bonds.

CMP officials have questioned whether the proposal is legal or realistic.