Maine Commission Proposes Rule Changes to Enhance Electric, Gas Consumer Protection

The Maine Public Utilities Commission opened a proceeding on Sept. 3 to revise consumer protection standards for electric and gas utilities in accordance with legislation enacted in the 2019 session. The measure amends rules addressing service standards for utilities, billing practices, record keeping, and customer complaints.

In May, the state passed three bills amending rules governing services and billing practices for residential and non-residential customers of electric transmission and distribution utilities, as well as gas utilities.

The first measure requires investor-owned electric utilities to provide comparative usage data on customer billing statements of residential customers and small-and medium-commercial customers. Another bill, designed to establish minimum service standards for electric utilities, calls for rules regarding customer bill accuracy. Investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities are required to provide customers an informational chart once a year, showing a 10-year history of transmission, distribution and standard-offer service rates available to the customer’s rate class, along with a statement of total percentage change in rates over the 10-year period.

In an effort to improve record keeping, the third measure requires utilities to retain records of customer complaints for a period of 10 years from the date of final resolution of the complaint, and directs the commission to keep a permanent record of all proceedings, investigations, public hearings, and complaints.

The commission will hold a hearing on the proposed rule on Sept. 30.

Initial and final comments are due by Sept. 26 and Oct. 10, respectively.