Maine PUC

Recent Stories

PUC ponders what’s next for multimillion-dollar wind deal vacated by court

Now what?

That’s the question being asked by regulators, utilities and representatives of one of the biggest business deals to hit the state in a long time, after Maine’s high court invalidated regulatory approval of that deal.

The deal is a complex transaction, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to build wind turbines across the region. Continue Reading →

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PUC releases confidential transcript in wind energy case

A proposal for a joint venture that would undertake major construction of wind towers across the state and region has encountered more regulatory complications, a week after reports were published that state officials recommended the proposal be turned down.  

The state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) was set to decide on Jan. 31 whether the proposal by First Wind, Emera Inc. (the Nova Scotia-based parent company of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service) and Ontario-based Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. could move ahead. But that meeting has been indefinitely postponed while attorneys for the deal’s proponents and opponents wrestle over actions taken by First Wind and Bangor Hydro over the last week. Continue Reading →

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PUC staff: no-go for energy firms’ wind deal

Last April, Maine’s largest wind energy developer, First Wind, trumpeted a multimillion-dollar deal that would pay for the company’s ambitious plans to erect more wind turbines throughout Maine and the Northeast. But in just the last week,  the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) dealt a potentially fatal blow to the deal. Faced with what opponents have called the first serious challenge to the state’s landmark electricity deregulation

law, which went into effect in 2000, PUC staff on Jan. 13 recommended that the agency give the thumbs down to the deal. “We deny approval of the ‘proposed Transactions’ as we find that the risk of harm to ratepayers exceeds the benefits,” the draft decision reads, “even if conditions intended to mitigate the risk of harm to ratepayers were imposed.”

The recommendation, which will be considered and voted on by the three agency commissioners Jan. Continue Reading →

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What Maine could do to minimize winter power outages

In the last three months, three storms have blacked out tens of thousands of electric customers in New England. Mayors can lose elections because of poor snow plowing, but can utility executives lose their jobs because of power outages? The president of Connecticut Light & Power, the largest electric company in the Nutmeg State, found out.  He was forced to resign after his company was slow to return homes to service and gave misleading information about when the lights would come on again following the Halloween storm. His fate illustrates just how serious the problem of frequent storm-related outages has become. Power lines are vulnerable.  Usually breaking or grounding a single strand of relatively thin, bare wire is all it takes to cause an outage.  Telephone lines are insulated, so they are far less vulnerable to breaking and can even support more weight than most local power lines. Continue Reading →

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