Business and Economy

Business news

Electricity Sellers Allegedly Posed As CMP Auditors To Sign Up Customers

5 hours ago
George Danby / Bangor Daily News

Residents in Bath, Norway, Paris and Fryeburg opened their doors in recent months to the same scene: a man claiming to be an “auditor” for Central Maine Power Co. He said he was there to make sure customers were not overpaying for electricity, at a time when hundreds were shocked by high wintertime bills from the utility.

Abukar Adan / Maine Public

Central Maine Power (CMP) and Maine's consumer advocate have agreed that electricity consumers can be charged $34 million for costs related to recovery from the October 2017 wind storm, which cut services to thousands of Mainers.

The cost will largely be offset, says Public Advocate Barry Hobbins, by a recent cut in the federal corporate tax and by changes in accounting methodology that reduces consumer liability for costs stemming from this year's March storm.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

RANGELEY, Maine - The Australian developer who's buying Maine's Saddleback Mountain ski resort has been arrested after a raid on his offices in his home country.
Australian news media report that Sebastian Monsour was charged Thursday with investment fraud after a search warrant was executed.
Monsour is CEO of the Majella Group, which is in the process of buying Saddleback.
The Rangeley ski resort has been closed for several seasons. Owners Bill and Irene Berry announced a year ago that they were selling to Majella Group.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Governor Paul LePage says he is stalling completion of an eight-year old state agreement to take ownership of the scenic Kennebec River Gorge – land that is now owned by Central Maine Power.

Governor Paul LePage says that while he supports Donald Trump and his administration, he has does not support tariffs, which he says can't work because the U.S. is too big of a user of world commodities.

This morning at the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce' s Eggs and Issues breakfast, LePage took aim at tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on Canadian steel. The Governor says most of the steel that comes into Maine is from Canada.

A Hawaii man has been sentenced to six months in prison for skimming money from a lobster wholesaler that he worked for in Maine.

Jonathan Cowles was also ordered to pay nearly $360,000 in restitution for an order of 50,000 pounds of lobster that the company shipped to China but was never paid for.

Federal prosecutors say Cowles stole a portion of sales by having customers pay him directly instead of the company. He pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud.

His defense attorney said he was in the midst of a divorce and needed money to pay legal and medical bills.

Skyrocketing Prices, Demand For New Homes Signal Turnaround In Maine Lumber Market

Jun 20, 2018
Stuart Hedstrom/Piscataquis Observer / via Bangor Daily News

Prices for wood to build and renovate houses have as much as doubled over the past six months, increasing costs for consumers but boosting Maine’s softwood sales and signaling a turnaround in that segment of the forestry market, industry experts say.

PORTLAND, Maine - A New Hampshire-based helicopter tour company is planning to expand to Maine and offer sightseeing trips around Portland by the end of June.
The Portland Press Herald reports that Seacoast Helicopters plans to start offering tours originating from Portland International Jetport this month. The trips will offer views of the city, Casco Bay and a newly renovated lighthouse on a small island 11 miles off the coast.

HALLOWELL, Maine - Maine regulators have cut Emera Maine's proposed rate increase by nearly half but AARP Maine says the 5.34-percent increase is still too high.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday reduced Emera Maine's request for a 12-percent boost in the distribution portion of customers' bills.
AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham said the organization was disappointed that the panel allowed a third rate increase in just five years. She said customers, especially those on fixed incomes, will find "any rate increase to be a hardship.''

Fred Bever / Maine Public

North Berwick sports-seating manufacturer Hussey Seating is sounding alarms about the effect that President Donald Trump's steel tariffs are having on its bottom line – a concern Maine Senator Angus King says is widespread in the state and beyond.

Nora Flaherty / Maine Public

Ask people in the construction industry about the problems they're facing, and one thing comes up more than just about any other:

“There's definitely a construction worker shortage in Maine,” says Meredith Kirkmann.

A set of retaliatory tariffs released by China includes a plan to tax American lobster exports, potentially jeopardizing one of the biggest markets for the premium seafood.

Chinese officials announced the planned lobster tariff on Friday along with hundreds of other tariffs amid the country's escalating trade fight with the United States. China said it wants to place new duties on items such as farm products, autos and seafood starting on July 6.

Bar Harbor Voters OK Buying Ferry Terminal, Adding Parking Meters

Jun 14, 2018
Nick Sambides Jr. / BDN

Aiming to reduce downtown traffic, Bar Harbor residents have voted to buy a former ferry terminal for $3.5 million and spend $600,000 on a seasonal parking meter system.

Resident voted 1,380-213 in favor of turning the former Bay Ferries Limited site off Route 3 into a multi-use marina and 859-719 in support of the parking plan, according to results from Tuesday’s municipal elections.

Both proposals attack a challenging issue — growing cruise ship and ground-based visitation that floods downtown Bar Harbor during tourist season.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine's Public Utilities Commission today re-opened consideration of consumer subsidies for a floating wind turbine project planned off Monhegan Island, potentially adding more delay to its development.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Representatives from city and town governments that are part of the 115-member Municipal Review Committee got a chance Monday afternoon to tour the new $70 million Fiberight biofuel recycling center in Hampden.

Although the facility is still under construction and is expected to begin receiving solid waste shipments early next year, Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul says nearly all of the plant’s key components should be in place within the next 90 days.