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Maine Plan Would Spin Off Generation

Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1996

A draft plan issued by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to restructure the state's electric industry, currently under review at the state legislature, would require investor-owned utilities to separate operation of generation assets from the rest of the company by 2000, and to divest themselves of those assets by 2006.

The plan would also require retail electric suppliers to maintain a minimum block of renewable supply, and recommend that the state legislature fund low-income assistance currently provided as part of utility rate structures through a general tax or surcharge on all energy services.

As noted in a prior column (see, "Maine Drafts Restructuring Plan," Headlines, Oct. 1, 1996, p. 14), the PUC proposes to allow all consumers to choose their electric supplier by January 2000. It would also allow recovery of stranded costs as a matter of both "fundamental fairness" and good public policy. The PUC added that denial of such recovery might also be unlawful. Re Electric Utility Industry Restructuring, Dkt. No. 95-462, July 19, 1996 (Me.P.U.C.).

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