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Entries in Bangor Hydro (2)


First Wind's Rollins Wind Project Commences Commercial Operation

On Wednesday, July 20, First Wind cut the ribbon and celebrated the completion and commercial  operation of the Rollins Wind project.  The project is expected to generate 60 MW of renewable energy, which is enough to power 23,000 Maine homes per year.  Completion of the project involved significant contributions from Verrill Dana attorneys Juliet Browne, Kelly Boden, Tony Calcagni, Gordy Smith and Scott Anderson.  First Wind will sell the output of the Rollins Wind project to Bangor Hydro Electric Company and Central Maine Power Company pursuant to long term contracts with each utility.



Reorganizations of Bangor Hydro Electric Company and Maine Public Service Company Earn Regulatory Approval

The Maine Public Utilities Commission has approved the reorganizations of Bangor Hydro Electric Company and Maine Public Service Company.  Upon closing, Bangor Hydro and Maine Public will share the same parent company, Emera Inc., as a result of BHE Holdings, Inc. (the immediate parent company of Bangor Hydro) acquiring all of the outstanding shares of Maine & Maritimes Corporation (the parent company of Maine Public). Click here to download the order itself.

Over the objection of the Industrial Energy Consumer Group, the Maine PUC approved two Stipulations related to the proposed reorganizations in an order issued on October 14, 2010.  In approving the so-called “Augusta Stipulation,” the Commission explained that there were several provisions of the Augusta Stipulation that made the potential benefits of the transaction more likely and that minimized or eliminated the risks.  Among other things, the Commission highlighted immediate savings to Maine Public customers of approximately $725,000 to $940,000 annually that will result from reduced Board expenses and Maine Public’s parent company no longer being publicly traded or subject to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs.  The Commission also approved a second Stipulation, the so-called “Transmission Stipulation,” which addressed issues related to the potential future construction of a transmission line linking Maine Public with the ISO New England system.  Despite the fact that the PUC concluded that the provisions of the Transmission Stipulation had marginal relevance to the case before it, the Commission approved the Transmission Stipulation because the two Stipulations were an integrated package, and by their terms, if one were not approved, both were null and void.

Commissioner Vafiades dissented.  While Vafiades agreed with the approval of the Augusta Stipulation, she did not support approval of the Transmission Stipulation because the issues relating to “transmission development and changes in RTOs would be the subject of separate proceedings” and were not “properly before the Commission in this proceeding.”

Notably, the PUC’s order, including Vafiades’ dissent, contains significant guidance on future stipulations.  For example, both the order and the dissent discouraged stipulations from reiterating the boundaries of PUC jurisdiction codified in statute.  In addition, the order expressed concerns about trends in which stipulations contain provisions, such as grants, “that advance unrelated or marginally relevant initiatives that some parties may support, regardless of their merit.”