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Maine has a Competitive Electricity Market

Our ability to choose the source of our electricity began in March 2000. That's when Maine's electricity restructuring law went into effect. As of that date, Maine electricity customers can choose the type of electricity they wish to purchase. This section examines the players in this "new" electricity system, as background for explanation of how different green electricity products work.

The New Electricity Grid

The electricity we rely on in our homes usually comes from the electricity grid. (See On-site Generation for an explanation of the alternative). This diagram depicts the main players in that system: Energy Consumers, Energy Suppliers and the Pool.

Energy Consumers - Electricity consumers come in all sizes and locations. When any customer flips a switch or turns on an appliance, electricity is supplied from the grid. To pay for their electricity, customers either remain on the Standard Offer or contract with the energy supplier of their choice. In this drawing, customers are choosing (via green arrows) to contract with clean, renewable energy generators.

Energy Suppliers - Electricity is generated by a wide range of generators (coal, oil, biomass and wind, as examples). Generators sell their output to electricity suppliers, companies that mix electricity from many sources and sell it to customers. Maine has many different electricity suppliers, although most sell primarily to larger customers. A full listing of competitive electricity suppliers (CEPs) is available at the Maine Public Utility Commission's website www.state.me.us/mpuc. All green power suppliers are listed on Maine Green Power Menu.

The Pool - Because electricity is not easily stored, the grid must always balance -- for every customer that needs electricity, a generator somewhere must supply it. All electricity goes into the grid (or "the wires") and all electricity needed by customers is drawn out of the grid.

All electricity is the same, whether generated by coal, oil or the sun. Yet, when electricity is generated by renewable generators, the environmental, health and security implications are different. When you choose green power, you are directing your dollars to renewable energy producers. By doing this, you direct your financial support to electricity that has beneficial impacts on both our economy and our environment.

Other Terms

Standard Offer - The Standard offer is the electricity supply that is available for customers who do not make any other choice. If you make no other choice, you will remain on the standard offer by default.

Delivery companies - Electricity is delivered by your traditional utility, no matter what supply source you choose. Bangor Hydro, Central Maine Power and Maine Public Service and the consumer-owned utilities (Kennebunk Light and Power, Eastern Maine Electric Coop, etc.) are also responsible for all problems with billing, outages, etc.

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