Key points from approved and pending legislation
A.B. 1890, signed into law Sept. 23, 1996.
• Plant Divestiture. To ensure the safe, reliable operation when utilities sell off generating facilities, buyers or successor corporations must keep the current staff on board for at least two years.
• Stranded Cost Recovery. Statute recognizes explicitly that transition to customer choice can produce employee hardships. Law finds it "preferable" that parties rely on voluntary severance, retraining, early retirement, outplacement and related benefits to achieve workforce reductions. Statute notes that competition transition cost should include reasonable costs associated with such benefits.
H.P. 1274-L.D. 1804, An Act to Restructure the State's Electric Industry, Chapter 316 of Public Law, signed into law May 29, 1997.
• Employee Assistance. Before offering retail access, each investor-owned electric utility must prepare a plan for providing transition services and benefits for eligible employees. The plan must include: 1) A program to assist eligible employees in maintaining fringe benefits and obtaining employment that makes use of their potential; 2) Retraining and outplacement services and benefits to eligible employees (for 2 years after retail choice begins); and 3) Full tuition (2 years) at the University of Maine.
• Merger Succession. If an investor-owned electric utility (or its subsidiary or parent) is a party to a collective bargaining agreement, then any successor must continue to recognize and bargain with the union representing the employees of the company at the time, and mus
t refrain from making unilateral changes in the employees' terms and conditions of employment.