This initiated bill creates the Pine Tree Power Company, a privately-operated, nonprofit, consumer-owned utility controlled by a board the majority of the members of which are elected. The company’s purposes are to provide for its customer-owners in this State reliable, affordable electric transmission and distribution services and to help the State meet its climate, energy and connectivity goals in the most rapid and affordable manner possible.
The Pine Tree Power Company is not permitted to use general obligation bonds or tax dollars of the State. The company finances itself by issuing debt against its future revenues to purchase the facilities of investor-owned electric transmission and distribution utilities in the State. The fair market value of the acquisition is either negotiated or determined by a refereed process. The Pine Tree Power Company Board contracts a nongovernmental team to operate the facilities, and the operations team is required to retain all workers of the purchased utilities.
The company is subject to property taxation and must pay property tax in the same manner as an investor-owned transmission and distribution utility. The company is subject to ratemaking and other oversight by the Public Utilities Commission and is required to administer programs for net energy billing, nonwires alternatives, supply procurement and low-income assistance programs.
The company is governed by a board of 13 members, 7 of whom are each elected to represent 5 State Senate districts, as well as 6 expert members to be selected by the elected members. The board is subject to freedom of access laws and to laws preventing conflicts of interest.
The initiated bill also directs the Public Utilities Commission beginning January 1, 2025 to find a transmission and distribution utility unfit to serve and to direct the sale of the utility if the utility meets certain criteria.