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Rate increase proposal draws protests

HALLOWELL (WGME) -- A proposed rate increase from Central Maine Power drew protests ahead of a hearing on the issue in Hallowell Wednesday night.

CMP proposes increasing fixed rates, and an extra charge for Mainers who use wind or solar power. That only accounts for about one thousand of CMP's 600,000 customers.

The proposal, if approved, would last five years, and create a standby charge for renewable energy users.

CMP says solar users should have to pay to stay connected to the electricity grid, but customers generating their own power call the extra charge a penalty for using an alternative energy source.

The Public Utilities Commission will vote on the CMP proposals in June. Another public hearing will be held Thursday night at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.