AUGUSTA — A proposal to let consumers compare electricity costs from different providers more easily secured the signature of Gov. Paul LePage to become law Tuesday.

“This new law includes common-sense protections that will keep Mainers from getting ripped off by unscrupulous companies,” said its sponsor, Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston.

Libby, the assistant minority leader, said in prepared comments that he pushed for the measure because “utilities promised lower costs but delivered bloated electric bills and contracts that were impossible for the average person to navigate.”

The measure, which some electricity suppliers insisted is unnecessary, requires suppliers to disclose whether their rate is higher than the standard offer available to everyone, send out renewal notices and only renew a contract if a customer explicitly agrees.

In testimony on the bill, Public Advocate Tim Schneider said the rules would put Maine “on the leading edge of the country for protecting consumers and preventing abusive practices in the consumer electricity market.”

Third-party electricity suppliers have often been accused of overcharging consumers and failing to be transparent about the bills they levy.

People in Maine, as in many states, pay a transmission charge determined by the utility company and regulated by the state. They also pay for the power that they use, which can come from the distributor at a standard rate that’s set with the approval of regulators or it can come from a third party.

What’s happened in some cases is that consumers sign up for power from a third party that initially offers a cheaper option but wind up with contracts that lock them into higher rates down the road.

Libby said that by giving consumers clear, timely information, they should make better choices and pay less.

The new law ensures that customers will see the relevant pricing information on their monthly bills and ensures that contract renewals are no longer automatic.

The acting director of the Governor’s Energy Office, Angela Monroe, told lawmakers in committee that her office generally supported Libby’s approach on the issue so LePage’s decision is not surprising.

A new law requires suppliers to disclose whether their rate is higher than the standard offer available to everyone, send out renewal notices and only renew a contract if a customer explicitly agrees.