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Industrial Customer Can Choose Subtransmission

Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 1996

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has ruled that Central Maine Power Co. acted in a discriminatory manner when it refused to grant a request by a large industrial customer, Yorketowne Paper Mills of Maine, to rate classes to time-of-use subtransmission.

The case was notable since the customer's employees had filed a complaint alleging improper denial of service and seeking reparation for overcharges. See, Yorketowne Paper Mills of Maine, et al. v. Central Maine Power Co., 170 PUR4th 535 (Me.P.U.C.1996).

The PUC acknowledged that the utility's tariff did allow it some discretion to determine the appropriate rate classification for high-voltage customers. Nevertheless, it found that Central Maine Power had treated Yorketowne differently than other similarly situated customers who had been permitted to move to the higher-voltage service tariff. It also rejected allegations by the utility that procedures for negotiation of special rate contracts under its newly approved Alternative Rate Plan made negotiation of specific rate-class transfers unnecessary. (Central Maine Power had offered Yorketowne a 15-percent discount on its existing rates under the new special contract rules.) The PUC said that the availability of the special discounts should not interfere with a customer's request to take service under an authorized tariff rate. Yorketowne Paper Mills of Maine, et al. v. Central Maine Power Co., Dkt. No. 95-224, Aug. 28, 1996 (Me.P.U.C.).

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