You've heard talk lately about the convergence of electricity and natural gas. That idea has grown as commodity markets have matured for gas and emerged for bulk power.
Central Maine Power Co. has agreed to allow other providers of wholesale electric power to bid for the right to supply energy to the utility for resale to utility customers who enjoy special discounted rate contracts.
It would carry out its agreement if and when the state of Maine should decide to open its retail electric market to competition.
The utility's promise to allow competitive suppliers to bid the special-rate contract load paved the way for the Maine Public Service Commission to approve new multi-year contracts offered by the utility to two large customers.
Bidders could offer to supply energy to Central Maine Power to fulfill any new contract (involving customer peak loads greater than 200 kW) that the utility might enter between Feb. 21, 1997, and the opening of competition in the retail market.
The commission found it significant that each of the new discount contracts offered by Central Maine Power would extend beyond 1999; that year would mark the end of the utility's current performance-based rate agreement and the proposed startup of retail competition in Maine's electric market. Thus, as part of the approval process for the rate discounts, Central Maine Power agreed that its shareholders should bear the risk of generation-related commitments associated with the two new discount contracts. Re Central Maine Power Co., Docket Nos. 96-636 and 96-637, Feb. 21, 1997 (Me.P.U.C.).
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