An Act To Allow Microgrids That Are in the Public Interest
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA §2305-B, sub-§§1 and 2, as enacted by PL 2001, c. 110, §2, are amended to read:
(1) In the amount of the value of the line, including poles or other related structures, to be located in the public way; and
(2) That is enforceable for one year from the date the line is energized;
Sec. 2. 35-A MRSA c. 33-A is enacted to read:
§ 3351. Microgrids
For the purposes of this subsection, when determining whether a proposed new microgrid is in the public interest, the commission may consider possible ratepayer effects, whether positive or negative, benefits due to the increased resilience or reliability of the electric grid, economic development benefits or any other factors the commission considers necessary to promote the public interest.
In granting its approval, the commission shall impose such terms, conditions or requirements on the construction, maintenance or operation of the new microgrid as, in its judgment, it considers necessary.
Sec. 3. Report. The Public Utilities Commission shall submit a report by January 15, 2021 to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy and utility matters detailing its activities related to new microgrids as defined in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, section 3351, subsection 1, paragraph B, including whether any new microgrids have been approved under Title 35-A, section 3351. The report must also include any recommendations for legislation that may be necessary to clarify or enhance the law regarding new microgrids. The committee may report out a bill to the First Regular Session of the 130th Legislature based on the report.
This bill directs the Public Utilities Commission to approve a petition to construct and operate a new microgrid if the commission finds the proposal to be in the public interest and the new microgrid meets other specified requirements. It provides the commission with the ability to impose such terms, conditions or requirements as, in its judgment, it considers necessary in approving a new microgrid and also gives the commission oversight to ensure reliability and security of the electrical system and consumer protections for new microgrid consumers. It specifies that a new microgrid does not become a public utility as a result of its furnishing electrical service to participating consumers. It provides that a new microgrid that has been approved by the commission may construct, maintain or operate its lines in, upon, along, over, across or under the roads and streets. The bill directs the Public Utilities Commission to submit a report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy and utility matters by January 15, 2021.