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Mainers prep for electric bill increase

The Maine Public Utilities Commission says Mainers can expect their next electric bill to go up around $30 starting this January.

YORK, Maine — Many Mainers will soon see their electric bills go up. The Maine Public Utilities Commission said this is because of the price of natural gas. 

Commissioner Philip Bartlett of the PUC said Mainers can expect their next electric bill to go up around $30 starting this January. 

“Yeah, I’m not happy with that," York resident Kelli Krohn told NEWS CENTER Maine. "That is so scary.”

Krohn lives alone. Last month, her electric bill was more than $300

“I’m asking my daughter to build an inlaw apartment at her house for me,"  Krohn said.

Despite working 80 hours a week and cutting back on using appliances like her oven, she added that the bills are still unaffordable. 

She's not alone, Dale Jackson of Dexter is also struggling to pay his electric bills.

"I try to keep all my lights off, but I still can’t keep my electric bill under $300," Jackson said.

Jackson told NEWS CENTER Maine he and his wife are putting their home up for sale to cut electric costs.

"I can go live in a trailer or double wide and not have to be killed by electricity," he added. " I can’t spend every bit of my money every month on electricity. How do I feed the kids?”

Jackson’s and Krohn's electric bills are expected to be higher than ever before this month. The Maine Public Utilities Commission said it’s because electricity supply rates are increasing.

“What we do every year, is we put out an RFP soliciting bids from competitive electricity providers," PUC Commissioner Philip Bartlett said. "They provide the bids to us and then we select the best combination of bids for Maine ratepayers.” 

Bartlett said prices are higher now because electricity rates in New England are largely driven by the price of natural gas, which is up because of the war in Ukraine and the impact that has had supply disruptions in Europe.

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