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Maine Tightens Ex Parte Rules

Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 1996

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved amendments to existing rules governing ex parte and other communications designed to influence the decisionmaking process in adjudicatory proceedings.

It found the changes necessary after representatives of New England Telephone and Telegraph Co. dba NYNEX, a local exchange carrier (LEC) regulated by the PUC, were reported engaged in lobbying activities. According to the PUC, NYNEX had contacted a variety of state officials (em including the governor and a number of legislators (em suggesting that they contact the PUC concerning recommended orders in two adjudicatory proceedings that would affect the carrier's rates.

The amendments approved by the PUC restrict direct and indirect communications to and from commissioners, presiding officers, and any advisors and parties who might be "legally interested" in the outcome of a given case. The amendments also include added restrictions on communications to commissioners during the period following the issuance of an examiner's report. Re Proposed Amendments to Ex Parte Provisions, Docket No. 95-390, Feb. 1, 1995 (Me.P.U.C.). t

Cases were reported by Phillip S. Cross, an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.

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