PUC probing higher bills for lower electricity use

Posted Jan. 24, 2010, at 10:39 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Public Utilities Commission is investigating a quirky problem for some commercial electricity customers: Their utility bills grow when they reduce consumption.

Commission Chairwoman Sharon Reishus says the situation is “inconsistent with Maine’s energy policy, which clearly encourages reduction of electricity use.”

The Portland Press Herald says the problem arises because of the way transmission and distribution rate classes are set up for commercial power customers.

Medium-sized companies may fall into the “small” company classification when their electricity use drops, putting them in a more costly rate category.