The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has OK'd a much-publicized special rate agreement between Central Maine Power Co. and one of its large customers, the Hannaford Brothers Co., which operates supermarkets.
Nevertheless, the PUC declined to order the utility to offer similar rates to Hannaford's competitors in the supermarket business. It advised that it cannot attempt to equalize electric rates among business competitors, or to reduce advantages that large businesses have over smaller businesses.
A five-year agreement negotiated under the PUC's new Alternative Rate Plan offers special pricing with a fixed monthly access charge and time-of-use energy charges for Hannaford's aggregated load at existing as well as new facilities. The agreement also limits Hannaford's installation of self-generation and provides for up to five megawatts of interruptible load.
As for Hannaford's competitors, the PUC advised them to file separate complaints if they believed they were treated unfairly. The PUC said it would ensure that customers who are similarly situated receive comparable rates, but could not guarantee rate parity. It explained that Hannaford's demonstrated ability to self-generate produced its competitive advantage (em not the agreement itself. Re Central Maine Power Co., Docket No. 96-612, Aug. 2, 1996 (Me.P.U.C.).
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