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April is National Safe Digging Month - Contractors and Homeowners Urged to call 811, Dig Safe® Before Digging

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 16:57:17 EDT

Hallowell, Maine -- As the agency charged with enforcing safe digging practices in Maine, the Maine Public Utilities Commission ("Commission") is urging all those who dig to take advantage of the resources available in Maine that will help avoid costly and dangerous damage to underground utility facilities.

"Digging without knowing the specific location of underground utilities can result in damage to gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, potentially serious injuries and costly repairs," said Mark Vannoy, Chairman of the Commission. "This April marks the tenth annual National Safe Digging Month, and we are reminding Maine residents to always call 811 at least three business days before any digging project."

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Dig Safe, Inc., the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.

Digging without calling to verify underground utility line locations first carries real risk -- every six minutes an underground utility line in the United States is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. Striking even a single line can cause serious injury, repair costs, and interruption of essential services. By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and professionals are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected.

The Commission encourages Maine residents to visit www.digsafe.com or www.call811.com for more information about digging safely. ###

The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.




Electricity Supply Prices Set for Standard Offer Service in Emera Maine - Maine Public District

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:42:54 EDT

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission ("Commission") set new prices for standard offer electricity supply for customers of Emera Maine - Maine Public District (Emera MPD) who receive standard offer supply service. For Emera MPD residential and small business customers, a price of 7.049 cents/kWh was set for the period June through December 2017. The new price is a 0.6% reduction compared to the current standard offer price, which remains in effect through May 2017. For Emera MPD medium business customers, the new prices, which were also set for June through December 2017, differ by month, equating to 7.341 cents/kWh on average, varying from 6.624 cents/kWh in June to 9.347 cents/kWh in December. These medium class prices are about 7.7% lower than prices during the same period last year. Finally, for large business customers, a standard offer price of 8.325 cents/kWh was set effective on April 1, 2017. The standard offer price for large business customers is subject to periodic adjustments, if necessary, to reflect any changes in market conditions and prices. If market adjustments are required they will occur on a quarterly basis.

These new prices apply only to standard offer service, which reflects about 60% - 70% of the total sales in Emera MPD's service area. The prices do not apply to customers that purchase their own electricity supply in the market. Background: Electricity customers in Maine receive standard offer service if they have not purchased supply from another retail supplier or through an aggregator. Currently, standard offer service represents about 60% - 70% of the supply used by Emera MPD customers. Maine law requires the Commission to ensure that standard offer service for electricity supply is available to all customers in Maine. The Commission arranges for standard offer service through periodic competitive bid processes. For more information on standard offer service prices: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/electricity/standard_offer_rates/index.html

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Maine Public Utilities Commission Issues Frequently Asked Questions on Net Energy Billing

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 16:19:02 EST

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Chapter 313, the Customer Net Energy Billing (NEB) Rule today. "The FAQ on Chapter 313 provides a useful summary for consumers as they think about how best to meet their electricity needs" said Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy.

The FAQ is posted to the Commission's Website at the following link: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Legacy Long Term Contracts Come to an End -- Stranded Costs Reduced

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:08:58 EST

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission ("Commission") today approved an agreement that marks the expiration of two large power purchase contracts and reduces stranded costs for Central Maine Power customers. This will be reflected in customer bills on July 1, 2017. "This is the end of an era and good news for Central Maine Power ratepayers" noted Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. The last two largest long term power contracts under the Federal law known as PURPA (the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978) expired at the end of 2016. PURPA was created during the energy crisis of the 70's and was intended to promote greater use of domestic energy and renewable energy. "The long term PURPA contracts signed in the 80's and 90's ended up being much more expensive than current market rates" said Vannoy.

The Commission approved passing along these savings to customers. "My fellow Commissioners and I were especially pleased to see the Industrial Energy Consumers Group, the Office of the Public Advocate, Commission staff and the utility all agree on this approach. Providing rate relief as quickly as possible to benefit the people and businesses of Maine is something all the Commissioners support" concluded Chairman Vannoy.

Background: The Commission approved a stipulation in Docket No. 2016-00226 at today's deliberations. This stranded cost case establishes CMP's annual revenue requirements for the three-year period beginning March 1, 2017. By agreement in the stipulation, the actual stranded cost price change is deferred to July 1, 2017. The major components include a reduction in power purchase payments from contracts that expired in December 2016 as well as the dissolution of a spent fuel trust fund and other Maine Yankee related expenses. The spent fuel trust fund proceeds of $21.5 million will be reimbursed to customers in year 1 as a one-time reduction resulting in a larger reduction for the first year of the 3-year cycle. Additional reductions in all 3 years are directly tied to the expiration of the PURPA long-term agreements. Going forward, similar 3 year stranded cost cases will no longer include the legacy PURPA contracts and will be limited to newer long-term procurement obligations entered into by Maine's utilities. Stranded costs and related ongoing long-term procurement obligation costs represent one piece of the overall T&D rate.

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Maine Public Utilities Commission Issues Decision on Customer Net Energy Billing

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 12:41:22 EST

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) approved revisions today to Chapter 313, the Customer Net Energy Billing (NEB) Rule. "The Commission received many useful comments over the last several months regarding this Rule and all the comments were reviewed and analyzed carefully" noted Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. "The resulting rule a) grandfathers existing customers for fifteen years, b) for new entrants it locks in the phase down level, at the year in which they enter, for fifteen years, and c) maintains incentive margins consistent with the declining costs of solar technology." The Commission focused its decision narrowly on residential rooftop solar. Below is a more detailed explanation of the major components of today's decision.1. Grandfathering of Existing NEB Customers. All existing customers and new customer installations that occur prior to January 1, 2018 will be grandfathered for fifteen years. This means those customers will receive the current incentives and terms as they exist today.2. Grandfathering of New Entrants to NEB. As new customers sign up over the next 10 years, netting of the transmission and distribution (T&D) portion of the bill will be gradually decreased to reflect reductions in the costs of small renewable generation technology. For example, in year 1 NEB customers will receive the full value of the supply portion, and 90% of the T&D portion for each year of the fifteen years.3. Maintaining Incentive Levels. The incentives to NEB customers under the new Rule should not change the length of time it takes for a customer to recoup their investment. The estimated payback for new installations will be similar to what it has been historically. As noted above, for a customer installation signed in year one, the full incentive for supply and 90% of the incentive for T&D is received for fifteen years. As the cost of technology declines, the incentive for T&D also declines for new entrants. For a new customer installation in year two, for example, the cost of the solar panels will have declined but the incentive will also decline to 80% for T&D and the full incentive for supply.4. Rule Addresses Residential Rooftop Solar Only. Many projects are being built across the state today based on existing market mechanisms. The Commission decided not to address larger scaled projects and community projects as part of the NEB rules to ensure we stayed within our regulatory function, and in light of legislative initiatives in these areas.5. Includes Renewable Energy Credit (REC) Based Revenue Stream. The new Rule allows an NEB customer to choose to monetize the value of their solar generation and receive a credit for that value. NEB installations will be automatically classified as a Maine Class I Renewable Resource.Background: Chapter 313 of the Commission's rules governs net energy billing (NEB) in Maine. NEB is a metering and billing mechanism that is generally used to promote the development and operation of smaller renewable generation facilities. In January 2016, Central Maine Power Company (CMP) filed a letter stating that, at the end of calendar year 2015, the cumulative capacity of the generating facilities for which CMP has net energy billing agreements under Chapter 313 is approximately 1.04% of CMP's annual peak demand. Consequently, CMP requested that the Commission undertake the review of net energy billing required by Section 3(J) of Chapter 313. In response to the CMP January 14, 2016 letter, the Commission, on June 14, 2016, issued a Notice of Inquiry to obtain comment and information from interested persons regarding Maine's NEB rules and whether the rules should be modified in light of changing economics and markets. On September 13, 2016 the Commission issued a Proposed Rule and requested comments on that rule. On October 17, 2016 the Commission held a public hearing on the Proposed Rule and received several hundred written co[...]



Proposed Rule on Customer Net Energy Billing

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 15:57:33 EST

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) announced today that it is continuing its review of the comments received from its September 13, 2016 Proposed Rule on net energy billing and hopes to decide the rulemaking issues during the first part of 2017. The Commission held a public hearing on the Proposed Rule on October 17, 2016 and received several hundred written comments as well. Until a final Rule is issued, the existing rules for net energy billing customers remain in place.

"This is an important Rule and more time is needed to consider the Proposed Rule in light of the comments we received to ensure that the Rule treats all ratepayers in a fair manner" noted Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. "It remains clear that changes in technology and costs of small renewable generation, particularly solar PV, require a careful review of the current Rule and potential modifications. The comments and participation of stakeholders to date have been helpful. The rulemaking process is iterative and therefore takes time. This process is occurring pursuant to the current law and Rule. Should the Legislature change the applicable law, the Commission will act accordingly," concluded Vannoy.

Background: Chapter 313 of the Commission's rules governs net energy billing (NEB) in Maine. NEB is a metering and billing mechanism that is generally used to promote the development and operation of smaller renewable generation facilities. In January 2016, Central Maine Power Company (CMP) filed a letter stating that, at the end of calendar year 2015, the cumulative capacity of the generating facilities for which CMP has net energy billing agreements under Chapter 313 is approximately 1.04% of CMP's annual peak demand. Consequently, CMP requested that the Commission undertake the review of net energy billing required by Section 3(J) of Chapter 313. In response to the CMP January 14, 2016 letter, the Commission, on June 14, 2016, issued a Notice of Inquiry to obtain comment and information from interested persons regarding Maine's NEB rules and whether the rules should be modified in light of changing economics and markets. On September 13, 2016 the Commission issued a Proposed Rule and requested comments on that rule.

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Auction Complete

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:09:49 EST

Hallowell, Maine - The nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the market-based regulatory program designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, today announced the results of the 34th auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances. The December 7th auction was the fourth auction of 2016, and generated $52.5 million. There were 14,791,315 CO2 allowances sold in the auction at a clearing price of $3.55. Bids for allowances ranged from $2.10 to $13.75 per allowance. The money generated is allocated among the nine RGGI States which in turn utilize and invest the funds pursuant to state laws and rules.

Maine's portion of Auction 34 proceeds is about $1.8 million. Since RGGI's inception, Maine has received $83.6 million which has been used to finance rate relief, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Many of these programs and projects are managed through the Efficiency Maine Trust. "The market monitor has reported that Auction 34 was a competitive auction with no indication of market manipulation or collusion," said Commissioner Carlisle McLean, who also serves as the RGGI Inc. Treasurer. She also said, "RGGI continues to make strides toward a cleaner electricity system while also providing revenue for each state to invest to their advantage. Although one of the smaller RGGI states, Maine continues to benefit from program participation."

About the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the third RGGI control period (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have implemented a mandatory market-based regulatory program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 2016 RGGI cap is 86.5 million short tons. The RGGI cap declines 2.5 percent each year until 2020. The RGGI states also include interim adjustments to the RGGI cap to account for banked CO2 allowances. The 2016 RGGI adjusted cap is 64.6 million short tons. RGGI is composed of individual CO2 budget trading programs in each state, based on each state's independent legal authority. A CO2 allowance represents a limited authorization to emit one short ton of CO2, as issued by a respective state. A regulated power plant must hold CO2 allowances equal to its emissions for each three-year control period. RGGI's third control period began on January 1, 2015 and extends through December 31, 2017. For more information visit www.rggi.org.

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Electricity Supply Prices Set for Standard Offer Service in Central Maine Power Territory

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:03:25 EST

Hallowell, Maine - In competitive solicitations concluded today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission ("Commission") accepted bids and set new prices for standard offer electricity supply for customers of Central Maine Power (CMP) who receive standard offer supply service. The new prices are effective for a twelve-month term beginning January 1, 2017.

For CMP residential and small business customers who receive standard offer supply service, the accepted bids result in a new standard offer price of 6.69 cents/kWh, which is a 3.5% increase compared to prices last year. For CMP medium business customers, the new prices differ by month, equating to about 6.83 cents/kWh on average over the year, varying from 4.78 cents/kWh in May to 8.94 cents/kWh in February. These medium class prices are about 1.3% lower than prices last year. Prices for large business customers will be indexed to market prices and set in advance of each month, as was done last year for large business standard offer service.

These new prices apply only to standard offer supply service, which reflects about 45% of the sales in CMP's service area. The prices do not apply to customers that purchase their own electricity supply in the market. "The standard offer prices set today reflect the best bids received in a very competitive auction process," according to Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. "We are pleased that some business customers will see a small decrease in their supply prices. On the other hand, the bids received for residential and small business customers result in a slight increase," said Vannoy.

The names of the suppliers selected will be released in two weeks, allowing time for power supply arrangements to be finalized.

Background: Electricity customers in Maine receive standard offer service if they have not purchased supply from another retail supplier or through an aggregator. Currently, standard offer service represents about 45% of the supply used by CMP customers. Maine law requires the Commission to ensure that standard offer service for electricity supply is available to all customers in Maine. The Commission arranges for standard offer service through periodic competitive bid processes.

For more information on standard offer service prices: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/electricity/standard_offer_rates/index.html

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Electricity Supply Prices Set for Standard Offer Service in Emera Maine - Bangor Hydro District

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:07:35 EST

Hallowell, Maine - In a competitive solicitation concluded today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission ("Commission") accepted bids and set new prices for standard offer electricity supply for customers of Emera Maine - Bangor Hydro District (Emera Maine) who receive standard offer supply service. The new prices are effective for a twelve-month term beginning January 1, 2017.

For Emera Maine residential and small business customers who receive standard offer supply service, the accepted bids result in new standard offer prices equating to 6.322 cents/kWh on an annual average basis, which is a 4.6% decrease compared to the annual average supply price during 2016. For Emera Maine medium business customers, the new prices differ by month, equating to 6.701 cents/kWh on an annual average basis, varying from 4.724 cents/kWh in May 2017 to 8.763 cents/kWh in February 2017. These medium class prices are about 0.6% lower than prices during the same twelve-month period last year. Prices for large business customers will be indexed to market prices and set in advance of each month, as was done last year for large business standard offer service.

These new prices apply only to standard offer service, which reflects about 55%-60% of the sales in Emera Maine's service area. The prices do not apply to customers that purchase their own electricity supply in the market.

"The standard offer prices set this week reflect the best bids received in a strongly competitive auction process," according to Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. "We are encouraged that power supply prices are decreasing for both residential and small business customers." Vannoy noted that standard offer prices for Central Maine Power customers will be set tomorrow.

The names of the suppliers selected for Emera Maine will be released in two weeks, allowing time for power supply arrangements to be finalized.

Background: Electricity customers in Maine receive standard offer service if they have not purchased supply from another retail supplier or through an aggregator. Currently, standard offer service represents about 60% of the supply used by Emera Maine customers. Maine law requires the Commission to ensure that standard offer service for electricity supply is available to all customers in Maine. The Commission arranges for standard offer service through periodic competitive bid processes. For more information on standard offer service prices: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/electricity/standard_offer_rates/index.html

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Maine Chairman Discusses Infrastructure Challenges as Part of National Panel

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 15:02:28 EST

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) announced today that Chairman Mark Vannoy recently participated as part of a nationally-recognized panel representing the state commission perspective on infrastructure challenges facing the nation.

In an opening session of the gas committee at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC's) 128th Annual Meeting on November 14, former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark and Maine's Chairman Mark Vannoy along with developers and financial sector representatives discussed the country's energy infrastructure challenges. Clark noted that at the same time gas pipeline and electric transmission infrastructure needs remain critical, the regulatory approval process has increased in uncertainty. Vannoy discussed the challenges facing both Maine and New England citing significant seasonal constraints which have led to major impacts to both residential consumers and businesses in the region. The NARUC annual meeting had strong attendance including regulators, industry, NGO's and others.

In March 2016, NARUC President Kavulla appointed Chairman Mark Vannoy to NARUC's Board of Directors. Vannoy's board term will end October 31, 2018. "Chairman Vannoy is a well-respected leader whose knowledge and breadth of experience make him an excellent addition to the NARUC Board," said President Kavulla. Vannoy serves on NARUC's Committee for Critical Infrastructure, and the Committee on Water.

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Request for Proposals for Physical Energy Storage Contracts for Liquefied Natural Gas Storage - Deadline Extended

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:22:30 EDT

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) has extended the deadline for responses to its Request for Proposals for Physical Energy Storage Contracts for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Storage to November 4, 2016. The Request for Proposals was issued on September 14, 2016 and is available on the Commission's website at: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/natural_gas/lngstoragecontract/. The previous deadline was October 14, 2016.

The Request for Proposals was issued in accordance with "An Act to Allow the Public Utilities Commission to Contract for Liquefied Natural Gas Storage and Distribution," which can be found at the following: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0600&item=3&snum=127. The Act establishes the authority for the Commission to execute or direct one or more of Maine's transmission and distribution utilities, gas utilities, or natural gas pipeline utilities to execute a Physical Energy Storage Contract (PESC) provided that certain requirements are met. As directed by the Act, the Commission will evaluate proposals to ensure that any PESC: a) materially enhances LNG Storage Capacity in the State; b) provides net benefits to Maine's electricity and/or natural gas consumers; c) provides the opportunity for access to lower cost natural gas at times of regional peak demand for natural gas or in the event of a disruption in upstream natural gas infrastructure; and d) enhances electrical and natural gas reliability in the State.

"The Commission looks forward to receiving proposals responsive to the RFP and will evaluate them in accordance with statutory directive in a continued effort to seek solutions to Maine and New England's regional energy challenges," stated Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. #

The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Presque Isle Public Witness Hearing - Emera Maine Proposed Increase in Rates

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:33:10 EDT

Hallowell, Maine - On Thursday September 29, 2016, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) will hold a public witness hearing to hear from members of the public on the Emera Maine proposed increase in rates of 9.89%. The public witness hearing will take place at the University of Maine Presque Isle, Folsom Hall - Room 105, 181 Main Street, Presque Isle, Maine and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

This public hearing will give the Commission an opportunity to hear the views of concerned members of the public as it considers Emera Maine's proposed rate increases. In a public witness hearing, any member of the public may participate by providing sworn testimony or they may present argument without being sworn; however, only sworn testimony becomes evidence in the case. The public witness hearing transcript will be publicly available in the case file (Docket No. 2015-00360) which may be accessed via the Commission's Case Management System. For more information on this case, and to access all documents filed to date (including a schedule of major activities in the case), please go to the Commission's website at the following link (http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/online/index.shtml) and access the Commission's online Case Management System. Enter Docket Number 2015-00360 in the Case Lookup field to retrieve all available documents. Background: On March 21, 2016, Emera Maine filed a proposed rate increase with the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The Emera Maine request asks that the company's total revenue requirement for its distribution infrastructure and operations be increased to $86.6 million, up from approximately $80 million, an 8.3 percent increase. The Office of the Public Advocate and the Commission staff have filed alternative proposals in the case for the Commission's consideration. In addition, the Commission will consider a management audit that it had ordered of the prudence of Emera's management of the installation of its new billing system, its customer service function and the reliability of its transmission and distribution system. On July 14, 2016, Emera filed a revised proposal requesting a 9.89% increase in distribution rates. The Commission currently expects to issue its decision in this case in late fall 2016. # The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Electricity Supply Prices Set for Standard Offer Service in Emera Maine - Maine Public District

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 08:32:14 EDT

Hallowell, Maine - In a competitive solicitation concluded today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission ("Commission") set new prices for standard offer electricity supply for customers of Emera Maine - Maine Public District (Emera Maine) who receive standard offer supply service. The new prices are effective November 1, 2016.

For Emera Maine - Maine Public District residential and small business customers who receive standard offer supply service, the new standard offer pricing is 7.092 cents/kWh for the first seven months, which is a 16.5% decrease compared to the current standard offer rate of 8.493 cents/kWh. For the remaining term, the standard offer price will be indexed.

For Emera Maine - Maine Public District medium business customers, the new prices differ by month, equating to 7.0116 cents/kWh for the seven month average, varying from 4.89 cents/kWh to 9.349 cents/kWh. These medium class prices are about 17% lower than prices during the same period last year. For the remaining term, the standard offer price will be indexed.

These new prices apply only to standard offer service, which reflects about 90% of the sales in Emera Maine's Maine Public District service area. The prices do not apply to customers that purchase their own electricity supply in the market.

"The standard offer prices set today reflect the best bids received in our solicitation process," according to Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. "We are encouraged that prices are lower for both retail and business customers; reflecting a downward trend in energy markets" said Vannoy. The names of the suppliers selected will be released in two weeks, allowing time for power supply arrangements to be finalized.

Background: Electricity customers in Maine receive standard offer service if they have not purchased supply from another retail supplier or through an aggregator. Currently, standard offer service represents about 90% of the supply used by Emera Maine-Maine Public District customers. Maine law requires the Commission to ensure that standard offer service for electricity supply is available to all customers in Maine. The Commission arranges for standard offer service through periodic competitive bid processes.

For more information on standard offer service prices: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/electricity/standard_offer_rates/index.html

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.



Request for Proposals for Physical Energy Storage Contracts for Liquefied Natural Gas Storage

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 13:36:53 EDT

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) has issued a Request for Proposals for Physical Energy Storage Contracts for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Storage.

The Request for Proposals was issued on September 14, 2016 and is available on the Commission's website at: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/natural_gas/lngstoragecontract/ . Proposals are due on or before October 14, 2016.

The Request for Proposals was issued in accordance with "An Act to Allow the Public Utilities Commission to Contract for Liquefied Natural Gas Storage and Distribution," which can be found at the following: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0600&item=3&snum=127. The Act establishes the authority for the Commission to execute or direct one or more of Maine's transmission and distribution utilities, gas utilities, or natural gas pipeline utilities to execute a Physical Energy Storage Contract (PESC) provided that certain requirements are met. As directed by the Act, the Commission will evaluate proposals to ensure that any PESC: a) materially enhances LNG Storage Capacity in the State; b) provides net benefits to Maine's electricity and/or natural gas consumers; c) provides the opportunity for access to lower cost natural gas at times of regional peak demand for natural gas or in the event of a disruption in upstream natural gas infrastructure; and d) enhances electrical and natural gas reliability in the State.

"The Commission looks forward to receiving proposals and will evaluate them in accordance with statutory directive in a continued effort to seek solutions to Maine and New England's regional energy challenges," stated Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy.

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.




Maine Public Utilities Commission Issues Proposed Rule on Customer Net Energy Billing

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 08:51:10 EDT

Hallowell, Maine - The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) approved a Notice of Rulemaking today on Chapter 313, the Customer Net Energy Billing Rule. The Commissioners approved issuing for comment a proposed Rule that would make several changes to Chapter 313. Under the Commission's current Rule, generation from a customer's generating facility may be used as a kWh credit (currently energy plus transmission and distribution charges) to offset that customer's electricity usage. The major changes to the proposed Rule beginning in January 2017 are summarized below:

• As new customers sign up over the next 10 years, netting of the T&D portion of the bill will be gradually reduced to reflect changes in the costs of small renewable generation technology.

• Netting regarding the supply portion of the customers' bill will remain unchanged.

• The size cap for an eligible customer facility is proposed to increase by 50%, from 660 kilowatts to 1,000 kilowatts.

• Community net energy billing is explicitly authorized.

• Consumer protections and transparency in community net energy billing and leasing arrangements.

• Existing Net Energy Billing customer arrangements would be unchanged for a 15 year period.

"The Commission received many comments over the last several months regarding this topic" noted Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy. "In light of changes in the technology and costs of small renewable generation, particularly solar PV, we felt that opening a rulemaking process to consider changes to the Rule was the prudent course of action to ensure that all ratepayers are treated fairly." "We look forward to receiving comments on the proposed Rule from interested parties and the public," concluded Vannoy.

Background: Chapter 313 of the Commission's rules governs net energy billing (NEB) in Maine. NEB is a metering and billing mechanism that is generally used to promote the development and operation of smaller renewable generation facilities. Under Maine's NEB rules, excess generation from a customer's generating facility may be used as a kWh credit to offset that customer's electricity usage in a future billing period when the customer's facility did not generate enough to offset the customer's electricity usage. In January 2016, Central Maine Power Company (CMP) filed a letter stating that, at the end of calendar year 2015, the cumulative capacity of the generating facilities for which CMP has net energy billing agreements under Chapter 313 is approximately 1.04% of CMP's annual peak demand. Consequently, CMP requested that the Commission undertake the review of net energy billing required by Section 3(J) of Chapter 313. In response to the CMP January 14, 2016 letter, the Commission, on June 14, 2016, issued a Notice of Inquiry to obtain comment and information from interested persons regarding Maine's NEB rules and whether the rules should be modified in light of changing economics and markets.

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.