Maine Senate President Troy Jackson during a press conference in Orono Wednesday afternoon. Credit: Gabor Degre

State lawmakers and union officials are expressing concerns about the proposed sale of the state’s second-largest electric utility, Emera Maine, to a small Canadian company called Enmax.

Maine Senate president Troy Jackson says the state Public Utilities Commission should make sure that Enmax does not take on too much debt to finance the $1.3 billion dollar purchase.

“We don’t want to see a situation where they have to raise rates really high just to clear their debt, and we certainly don’t want them to lay off workers, or a combination of both,” Jackson said. “And so the PUC’s got to make sure that this is even viable to start with.”

Lawmakers this year passed a measure that could strengthen the PUC’s standards of review, including a provision that such mergers and acquisitions are found to be a “net benefit” for consumers.

In an email, a spokesperson for Emera says the utility would remain a Maine-based company under the deal and would honor existing collective bargaining agreements.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.