PORTLAND, Maine — A staff recommendation to the Maine Public Utilities Commission recommends that the state’s largest electric utilities seek more favorable agreements in return for continued participation in the New England power grid. But the report doesn’t recommend immediate steps to pull out of the grid.

The commission already concluded that Maine ratepayers don’t get enough in return for participating in ISO-New England. Alternatives include going it alone, partnering with neighboring New Brunswick, or the staff recommendation of seeking reforms from ISO-New England.

The full commission is due to take up the staff recommendation next week, and it’s required to report its recommendations to the Maine Legislature on Jan. 15.

Neither Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. are advocating leaving the grid. The current power grid agreement expires on Feb. 1, 2010.