Stories about Maine Public Utilities Commission

Carlisle McLean, pictured at the State House after her confirmation to the Maine Public Utilities Commission in January

Long-term wind deals in Hancock, Somerset counties will be reconsidered

By Darren Fishell on Feb. 25, 2015, at 3:42 p.m.
HALLOWELL | The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted Wednesday to take a second look at the terms of two long-term wind purchasing deals the three-person commission approved in December. The makeup of the commission has changed since the December approval, with Carlisle McLean joining the panel in place of …

Maine regulators’ new look at wind contracts fuels controversy

By Darren Fishell on Feb. 23, 2015, at 8:37 p.m.
PORTLAND | The decision to place two long-term wind power contracts in regulatory limbo has sparked conflict among wind industry advocates, Maine’s major electricity providers and political leaders. The Maine Democratic Party on Monday chided Republican Gov. Paul LePage for “meddling” in the business of the Maine Public Utilities …

Maine regulators asked to decide whether to charge electricity ratepayers for natural gas expansion

By Darren Fishell on Sept. 18, 2014, at 5:42 p.m.
PORTLAND | The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. has asked Maine regulators to make up their minds by the end of November about charging electricity ratepayers a new fee to pay for new natural gas capacity. The company, owned by Houston-based energy company Kinder Morgan, on Thursday submitted to the …
Central Maine Power Co. workers replace a utility pole that was knocked down in South Thomaston by a vehicle April 18, 2014.

Power bills to rise for CMP customers after decision in controversial rate case

By Darren Fishell on July 31, 2014, at 6:14 p.m.
PORTLAND | Central Maine Power Co. said power bills for residential and small business customers are set to go up an average of $2.07 per month, starting Sept. 1. The rate increase is the result of a decision this week from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, following months of …

Environmental group challenges basis for New England natural gas pipeline buildout

By Darren Fishell on June 27, 2014, at 3 p.m.
PORTLAND | An environmental group launched a new salvo in an ongoing battle across New England over whether states should commit public funds to expanding natural gas capacity. Regulators in the six states are considering the merits of tapping ratepayers to finance a natural gas pipeline buildout that industrial …
Turbines on Heifer Hill that are part of the Bull Hill Wind Project put up by First Wind in Township 16.

First Wind tries again to gain Maine regulators’ approval for wind farm partnership with Emera

By Darren Fishell on May 19, 2014, at 5:44 p.m.
HALLOWELL | Boston-based First Wind is pushing Maine utilities regulators to approve for a second time its multimillion-dollar partnership with Nova Scotia-based power company Emera, in a case that was sent back to the Maine Public Utilities Commission by a court order. Opponents of the joint venture have argued …

Maine public advocate withdraws opposition to wind energy deal

By Naomi Schalit, Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting on May 05, 2014, at 5:29 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The state public advocate’s office, which represents the interests of utility customers in Maine, has withdrawn its opposition to a multimillion-dollar transaction to build wind turbines across Maine and the Northeast. Public Advocate Timothy Schneider said the move was made after his office reviewed its previous position …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage vetoes bill to give lawmakers more say on $67 million tax increase for FairPoint

By Mario Moretto on April 23, 2014, at 8:47 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A bill framed by supporters as an effort to protect cable, cellphone and land-line ratepayers from a proposed $67 million fee hike was vetoed Wednesday by Gov. Paul LePage, who said the bill does nothing to address the underlying problem. FairPoint Communications has a pending case before …
Paul Rudman in 2005.

LePage nominates PUC alternates to overcome stalemate in Poland Spring case

By Darren Fishell on April 22, 2014, at 5:56 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage has nominated three retired judges to serve as alternates on the Maine Public Utilities Commission in an effort to move forward consideration of a 25-year water sales contract between Nestle Waters North America, the owner of Poland Spring, and its Fryeburg water supplier. The …
Bowdoin College is seeking to generate solar electricity with solar panels on roofs of the Farley Field House (foreground) and the Watson Arena (right).

Bowdoin College, other major Maine customers that produce their own energy balk at new Central Maine Power fee

By Beth Brogan on March 13, 2014, at 10:06 a.m.
BRUNSWICK | Opponents of a new fee proposed by Central Maine Power to charge customers who generate their own alternative energy say the fee would make those efforts unsustainable. But CMP says the fee is necessary to ensure all customers — residential, business and other entities — pay their …

Maine Public Service customers’ electricity prices going up

By Jen Lynds on Dec. 18, 2013, at 6:25 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine utility regulators announced Wednesday that electric prices for residential and commercial customers of Maine Public Service will be going up. The Maine Public Utilities Commission said standard offer prices taking effect March 1, 2014, will be 16 percent higher, or 8.493 cents per kilowatt-hour for residential …

Report recommends improvements at Maine Public Utilities Commission, cautions against bias

By Mario Moretto on Sept. 19, 2013, at 3:44 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A new report from the state agency tasked with ensuring government accountability says the Public Utilities Commission could do more to help consumers navigate what can be a “confusing and intimidating” adjudicatory process. The report, completed this month by the Office of Program Evaluation & Government Accountability, …
VolturnUS, a wind turbine designed and built at the University of Maine, became the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the Americas to provide electricity to the power grid in June.

UMaine submits bid for floating wind turbine deal

By Nick McCrea on Sept. 03, 2013, at 5:04 p.m.
BANGOR | The University of Maine filed a bid with the Maine Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 30 to send long-term renewable energy produced by UMaine’s floating wind turbines to the state. “UMaine believes this is a strong proposal from the newly formed Maine-based company Maine Aqua Ventus I …
More than 70 people turned out for an informational session in June 2012 hosted by Statoil North America.

Maine’s involvement in global offshore wind threatened by legislative actions, say industry watchers

By Whit Richardson on July 03, 2013, at 7:08 p.m.
PORTLAND | Statoil North America on Wednesday said it was putting its offshore wind energy project on hold because of “the risk and uncertainty” created last week when the Legislature, at Gov. Paul LePage’s behest, made changes that will delay and potentially threaten state approval for the project. The …
Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport

Legislature passes energy measure, bill to allow UMaine to compete for wind power project

By Scott Thistle on June 27, 2013, at 12:20 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine -– A bill that aims to help Maine end its heavy dependence on heating oil was passed into law late Wednesday after the state Senate unanimously rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the measure. The measure is aimed at expanding New England’s natural gas infrastructure, boosting funding for …
The State House in Augusta.

Developers circling state plans to invest $75M in new natural gas pipeline

By Matthew Stone on June 01, 2013, at 6:17 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Lawmakers’ attempts to balance the two-year state budget that takes effect July 1 could be on a collision course with a comprehensive energy bill that has bipartisan support and has piqued the interest of pipeline developers. Three budget amendments proposed Friday afternoon would funnel nearly $65 million …

Despite ‘low probability’ of success, offshore wind project could be Maine’s ‘bonanza,’ PUC chairman says

By Matthew Stone on Feb. 12, 2013, at 5:47 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission defended his decision Tuesday to support a pilot wind energy project in the Gulf of Maine despite what he called a low probability of success. Thomas Welch said he changed his position to support Statoil North America’s offshore wind …

Divided regulators approve offshore wind energy project

By Robert Long on Jan. 24, 2013, at 12:36 p.m.
HALLOWELL | The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 on Thursday morning to allow Statoil North America to move ahead with plans for an offshore wind energy pilot project in federal waters off the coast of Maine. PUC Chairman Thomas Welch, who had expressed reservations about the deal in …

State chooses FairPoint a 3rd time for 911 upgrade days after contract thrown out, again

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 22, 2012, at 7:18 a.m.
AUGUSTA | For the third time this year, the Maine Public Utilities Commission has chosen FairPoint Communications to replace the state’s emergency 911 system with an upgraded, Internet-based system that can accept emergency calls from a range of devices. The commission’s choice of FairPoint for the $32 million contract, …

Panel again throws out state’s $32 million award to FairPoint for 911 system upgrade

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 15, 2012, at 3:55 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A state appeals panel for the second time this year has reversed a Maine Public Utilities Commission decision to award FairPoint Communications a $32 million contract to replace the state’s emergency 911 system with an upgraded, Internet-based system for emergency calls. The specially appointed appeals panel overturned …