Poll Shows Majority of Maine Residents Oppose Standby Charges on Solar Customers

82% of Mainers are against Central Maine Power proposal

May 14, 2014, 16:20 ET from The Alliance for Solar Choice

AUGUSTA, Maine, May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new poll, funded by the Alliance for Solar Choice, finds that eight out of ten Mainers (82%) oppose adding a charge on customers that generate their own electricity with rooftop solar or other technologies. Poll results indicate general opposition for a standby charge, which has been proposed Central Maine Power (CMP) and would require customers to pay an extra fee for being connected to the grid, even when that customer is using the electricity that they generated themselves.

"It is clear that Mainers value their energy choice," said Anne Smart, Executive Director of the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC).  "CMP's proposal is a direct attack on its own customers and on the rooftop solar industry."

Critical Insights interviewed 601 voters in Maine as part of a biannual statewide survey on business, government, and the general public. Poll results show bipartisan opposition to CMP's standby charge proposal, with the greatest opposition recorded from lower socioeconomic status and younger voters.

CMP's proposal is part of the utility's Request for Alternative Rate Plan, currently under consideration by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Last month, more than 300 customers spoke out against the rate plan at public hearings held in Hallowell and Portland. In addition to the standby charge, CMP is also proposing an increase in fixed charges paid by all types of customers, making it more difficult for residents and businesses to offset their electricity bills through conservation or private investments in solar energy. The PUC must make a decision on CMP's proposal by June 2014.

The Alliance for Solar Choice advocates for maintaining successful distributed solar energy policies that expand consumer choice in energy supply. Its members represent the majority of the nation's rooftop solar market and include SolarCity, Sungevity, Sunrun, Verengo Solar, Demeter Power Group, and Solar Universe. These companies are responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs and residential, school, church, government and commercial solar installations around the country.

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SOURCE The Alliance for Solar Choice