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Maine PUC Issues Order on Advisory Rulings Involving Central Maine Power

Targeted News Service

AUGUSTA, Maine, Sept. 15 -- The Maine Public Utilities Commission issued the following order on advisory rulings (Docket No. 2020-00224):

CENTRAL MAINE POWER COMPANY Petition for Advisory Opinion and Finding Of Prudency Regarding Application of Section 1 (Scope) of Chapter 324.


BARTLETT, Chairman; WILLIAMSON and DAVIS, Commissioners


Through this Order, the Commission declines to issue an advisory ruling regarding small facility interconnections as requested by Central Maine Power Company.


On August 6, 2020, Central Maine Power Company (CMP) filed a Petition for Advisory Ruling relating to the issue of whether interconnection customers who intend to participate in commercial and institutional net energy (NEB) billing under Section 3(K) of Chapter 313 or the Commission distributed generation (DG) procurements under Chapter 312 fall within the Commission's interconnection jurisdiction under Chapter 324. CMP states that Chapter 324 does not specify how to determine if an Interconnection Customer-Generator Facility (ICGF) falls within the Commission's jurisdiction.

Accordingly, CMP states that it is proper to seek guidance from the Commission regarding the application of Chapter 324, as well as seeking assurances that the Company's actions in exercising jurisdiction over certain types of generators under Chapter 324 will not later be found improper and the subject of cost disallowances by the Commission.

CMP notes that the standard contract for both the NEB and DG programs provide that, at the election of the Project Sponsor, the utility will become the Lead Market Participant and Lead Asset Owner and assume all associated reporting and market settlement obligations. In addition, the utility will be responsible for registering the DG resource as a generating asset with ISO-NE and will be responsible for all ISO-NE market administration obligations associated with its registration and participation in the wholesale markets administered by ISO-NE.

One consideration in making CMP the Lead Market Participant and Lead Asset Owner for these two types of contracts relates to the issue of jurisdiction over the interconnection of the generating facilities associated with each contract. CMP states that to determine if a small generating facility is subject to State jurisdiction under Schedule 23 (Small Generator Interconnection Procedures) of the ISO-NE Open Access Transmission Tariff ("OATT"), an exception to the ISO-NE Tariff under Section 1.1.1 must apply. The potentially applicable exception is that the new generating facility will not be used to make wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce. CMP states that it unclear whether this exception would apply to generating facilities seeking to engage in commercial and institutional NEB or participate in the Commission's DG program. Specifically, it is not clear, based on either Chapter 324 or the ISO-NE SGIP, whether CMP becoming the Lead Market Participant and Lead Asset Owner for a generating facility would remove ISO-NE jurisdiction.

The key question is whether CMP's role as the Lead Market Participant and Lead Asset Owner results in there being no wholesale sale in interstate commerce. CMP states that ISO-NE has taken no position on this issue. CMP indicates that it is willing to apply the applicable exception under Section 1.1.1 of the ISO-NE SGIP to situations in which CMP is the Lead Market Participant and Lead Asset Owner for a generating facility, subject to the Commission finding that such action would be considered prudent and consistent with sound management practices, in accordance with 35-A M.R.S. Sec. 301(4).


For the reasons discussed, the Commission denies CMP's request for the issuance of an Advisory Ruling. Although CMP characterizes its filing as a request for an interpretation of Commission rules, the Petition ultimately calls for an interpretation of ISO-New England's Tariff, which is outside the Commission's jurisdiction. In the Commission's view, it is the responsibility of CMP to interpret the ISO-New England Tariff. For the Commission to find one interpretation to be prudent, would shift the risk of non-compliance with the Tariff regulated by FERC from CMP's shareholders to its ratepayers. Such action would not be in the public interest.

Accordingly, the Commission declines to offer an interpretation of ISO-New England's Tariff or to make any finding of prudence.

Dated at Hallowell, Maine, this 14th day of September, 2020.

Harry Lanphear, Administrative Director




* * *


5 M.R.S. Sec. 9061 requires the Public Utilities Commission to give each party at the conclusion of an adjudicatory proceeding written notice of the party's rights to seek review of or to appeal the Commission's decision. The methods of review or appeal of Commission decisions at the conclusion of an adjudicatory proceeding are as follows: 1. Reconsideration of the Commission's Order may be requested under Section 11(D) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (65-407 C.M.R. ch. 110) within 20 days of the date of the Order by filing a petition with the Commission stating the grounds upon which reconsideration is sought. Any petition not granted within 20 days from the date of filing is denied.

2. Appeal of a final decision of the Commission may be taken to the Law Court by filing, within 21 days of the date of the Order, a Notice of Appeal with the Administrative Director of the Commission, pursuant to 35-A M.R.S. Sec. 1320(1)-(4) and the Maine Rules of Appellate Procedure.

3. Additional court review of constitutional issues or issues involving the justness or reasonableness of rates may be had by the filing of an appeal with the Law Court, pursuant to 35-A M.R.S. Sec. 1320(5).

Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. Sec. 8058 and 35-A M.R.S. Sec. 1320(6), review of Commission Rules is subject to the jurisdiction of the Superior Court.


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