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Public Utilities Commission

 Record Group
Identifier: US-MeSA-65

Scope and Contents

The Maine State Archives (MSA) collects and holds the permanent historical records of the Maine State Government. MSA was created in 1965. By 1971, MSA housed the historical records that had been held by the Secretary of State, Legislature, Courts and Executive Departments. This included records from defunct agencies.

With the implementation of a records management system, groups of records were identified as having permanent historical value and were sent to the Archives after a designated period of time. These included Commissioner/Executive correspondence, meeting minutes from Boards and Commissions, as well as department-specific records.

Dates

  • 1913 -

Biographical / Historical

PURPOSE: The Public Utilities Commission's purpose is to protect the public by ensuring that utilities in the State of Maine provide adequate and reliable service to the public at rates that are reasonable and just. The Commission acts as a quasi-judicial body which decides cases involving rates, service, financing, and other activities of the utilities it regulates. The Commission also has investigatory and rulemaking authority. The Commission currently has jurisdiction over approximately 157 water utilities, 14 electric utilities, 7 gas utilities, 23 local telephone utilities, 1 water carrier, 297 competitive electricity providers, and 229 competitive local and interchange carriers.

The Commission is divided into five operating divisions with respective powers and duties as follows:

The ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION is responsible for fiscal, personnel, contract and docket management, as well as physical plant. The Division provides support services to the other divisions and assists the Commission in coordinating its activities. The CONSUMER ASSISTANCE DIVISION (CAD) receives, analyzes and responds to complaints from Maine utility customers. The LEGAL DIVISION represents the Commission before Federal and State appellate and trial courts and agencies. It provides hearings examiners and staff attorneys in cases before the Commission and assists in preparing and presenting Commission views on legislative proposals. The TELEPHONE AND WATER DIVISION is responsible for financial, technical, and policy related investigations and analyses conducted by the Commission on telephone and water utilities. The Division provides expert advice to the Commission on such matters as revenues, expenses, engineering, economics, technology and other technical aspects related to the telephone and water industries. The ELECTRIC AND GAS DIVISION is responsible for financial, technical, and policy related investigations and analyses conducted by the Commission on electric and gas utilities. The Division provides expert advice to the Commission on such matters as revenues, expenses, engineering, economics, technology and other technical aspects related to the electric and gas industries.

ORGANIZATION: The Public Laws of 1913, effective by Proclamation, after referendum on October 30, 1914, created the Public Utilities Commission(PUC). It was organized December 1, 1914. The Act abolished the Board of Railroad Commissioners, established in 1858, and conferred upon the Public Utilities Commission all powers vested in that Board, as well as the State Water Storage Commission, including custody and control of all records, maps, and papers pertaining to the offices of the Railroad Commissioners and the State Water Storage Commission, the latter of which was not legally abolished until 1916. The Commission also acquired jurisdiction over all "public utilities," and through subsequent legislation any person, firm, or corporation operating motorbuses or trucks transporting passengers or freight for-hire over any street or highway in Maine. The Commission retains jurisdiction over the transportation of passengers and property for compensation by vessel in Casco Bay under chapter 174 of the Private and Special Laws of 1963.

Chapters 207 and 617 of the Public Laws of 1983 specifically exempted dealers of gas in liquid form from Commission jurisdiction, which had not been previously exercised. Central tanks serving more than 10 customers are still subject to PUC jurisdiction. Chapter 304 of the Public Laws of 1983 deregulated one-way paging service. Public Law 1987, chapter 141 conferred to the Commission jurisdiction over cable television systems providing service like telephone companies and pole attachment charges for cable television systems. Public Law 1991, chapter 342, exempted cellular telephone providers,from regulation as public utilities, as long as one provider does not "exclusively control" the assigned service area and unless the Commission determines that the cellular provider is engaged in providing basic exchange telephone service.

Public Law 1999, chapter 718, gave the Commission enforcement authority over the Dig Safe damage prevention statute. Public Law 2001, chapter 624, which required the Commission to develop and administer conservation programs funded through assessments on Transmission and Distribution utilities, became effective on April 5, 2002. Public Law 2003, chapter 359, moved the Emergency Services Communication Bureau to the Commission giving it oversight responsibility for the E-9-1-1 program.

The present Public Utilities Commission consists of 3 Commissioners appointed by the Governor subject to review by the legislative committee having jurisdiction over public utilities and to confirmation by the Senate, for terms of 6 years. The Governor designates one Commissioner as Chairman and all 3 Commissioners devote full time to their duties.

Maine State Government Annual Report 2013-2014

Extent

2539.0 Linear Feet (3481 containers)

Language of Materials

English

State Agency Schedules

http://www.maine.gov/sos/arc/records/state/puc.pdf
Status
Completed
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Maine State Archives Repository

Contact:
84 State House Station
Augusta Maine 04333
207-287-5790