Credit: Lori Valigra / BDN

The Maine Public Utilities Commission is considering tougher new rules on electric utility performance similar to those proposed by lawmakers.

The panel will hold a public hearing next month on the proposal to measure performance related to service interruptions, customer service, billing errors and customer satisfaction.

“Measuring and improving utility performance is a top priority for the commission,” commision Chair Philip Bartlett said. The public hearing is on April 7.

The proposal is similar to a bill sponsored by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, but it doesn’t require legislative approval. The governor’s proposal would impose penalties for poor performance, add protections for utility whistleblowers and authorize financial audits, among other things.

Power companies contend they’ve made improvements and that the changes are unnecessary. Opponents said the bill doesn’t go far enough.