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Maine Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (8-ME-c)

In Maine, a developer may need to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“Certificate”) from the Maine Public Utilities Commission (“MPUC”) prior to constructing a transmission line of 69 kilovolts (kV) or more. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132-A.


A person must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“Certificate”) from the Maine Public Utilities Commission (“MPUC”) prior to constructing a transmission line of 69 kilovolts (kV) or more. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132-A; 65-407-330 ME. CODE R. § 3(A)(1). A person means “a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, association, trust, estate, any other legal entity, or natural person.” 65-407-330 ME. CODE R. § 2(D).

If the proposed project involves constructing transmission lines with a capacity less than 69 kV, but has a total project cost in excess of $20 million, then the developer must petition the MPUC for approval. 35-A ME. REV. STAT. § 3132-A. A developer constructing a generator interconnection transmission facility does not need to obtain a Certificate from the MPUC. A “Generator Interconnection Transmission Facility” means a transmission line, together with all associated equipment and facilities, that is constructed, owned and operated by a generator of electricity solely for the purpose of electrically and physically interconnecting such generator to the transmission system of a transmission and distribution utility. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132-1-B.

The MPUC reviews Certificate approvals for bulk transmission development pursuant to Maine – 35-A ME. REV. STAT. §§ 3101-3195, Public Utilities - Electric Power – General Provisions, Maine – 65-407-330 ME. CODE R. et seq., Filling Requirements for Petitions for Certificates of Pubic Convenience and Necessity for Electric Transmission Facilities, Maine – 65-407-110 ME. CODE R. et seq., Public Utilities Commission – Rules of Practice and Procedure, Maine – 35-A ME. REV. STAT. §§ 101-122, Public Utilities – Public Utilities Commission – General Powers, and Maine - 5 ME. REV. STAT. §§ 8001-11008, Administrative Procedure Act.



Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Process

8-ME-c.1 – Petition for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

The developer must submit a complete Petition for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“Petition”) to the MPUC. The Petition must include, at minimum, the following:

  • A description of the effect of the proposed transmission line on public health and safety and scenic, historic, recreational, and environmental values and of the proximity of the proposed transmission line to inhabited dwellings;
  • Justification for adoption of the route selected, including comparison with alternative routes that are environmentally, technically and economically practical;
  • Results of an investigation by an independent 3rd party, which may be the MPUC or a contractor selected by the MPUC, of non-transmission alternatives to construction of the proposed transmission line. The investigation must set forth the total projected costs of the transmission line as well as the total projected costs of the alternatives over the effective life of the proposed transmission line; and
  • A description of the need for the proposed transmission line.

35-A M.R.S. § 3132(2-C).

The developer must also submit with the Petition:

  • A map or plat of sufficient scale which shows, in detail, the proposed location of the line; the width of the corridor in which it is proposed to be located; the location of existing incorporated communities; the principal topographic features of the proposed location; public or private recreational areas, parks, forests, hunting or fishing areas, or similar facilities; historical or scenic areas or places; rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs and similar bodies of water, located within five miles of either side of the center line of the proposed corridor;
  • One-line system diagrams showing the following details:
  1. all affected existing and proposed transmission lines, substations, substation buses, and transformers.
  2. existing and proposed voltage and capacity ratings of all affected lines, buses, transformers and protective and switching equipment.
  3. highest peak load experienced during normal operating conditions of each affected line and substation.
  4. the highest peak load experienced during contingency operating conditions of each affected line and substation.
  5. projected five and ten year peak loading on each affected line and substation with and without proposed changes.
  • A description of the standard type of construction configuration of the proposed line;
  • A description of the proposed corridor, including all trimming clearances required and identifying locations where the degree of the slope is in excess of twenty degrees, and specifying those portions of the proposed corridor to which the developer has acquired property rights;
  • A description of the effect of the proposed transmission line on public health and safety and scenic, historic, recreational, and environmental values and of the proximity of the proposed transmission line to inhabited dwellings;
  • A breakdown of cost estimates;
  • A description of any other changes in plant or in system operations that will result from the erection or operations of the proposed lines, an explanation of the causes of or reasons of all such changes, and estimates of all costs associated with each change;
  • All studies, reports, or other data relied upon in the investigation of alternate routes and must clearly state the process by which petitioner (developer) selected the proposed route, including comparison with alternative routes that are environmentally, technically and economically practical; and
  • An analysis of the effects of the proposed line or rebuilding or relocation of a line on:
  1. the reliability of the transmission system as a whole and any relevant portion or subsystem thereof, and
  2. the capability of the transmission systems to serve existing and projected loads.

65-407-330 ME. CODE R. §§ 6-7.

The developer must submit a filing fee with the Petition pursuant to 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(9)-(10-A).


8-ME-c.2 to 8-ME-c.3 – Review Petition Materials for Completeness

The MPUC must review the Petition materials for administrative and technical completeness. The MPUC may request additional information from the developer in order to assess the proposed project.

8-ME-c.4 to 8-ME-c.6 – Publish Notice of Public Hearing

The MPUC must publish notice of the public hearing to any interested party by regular mail, sufficiently in advance of the anticipated time of the decision to afford an adequate opportunity to prepare and submit comments or evidence during the hearing. 5 M.R.S. § 9052(1)(A); 5 M.C.R. § 8(A).

The MPUC must also provide notice to the public sufficiently in advance of the anticipated time of the decision to afford an adequate opportunity to prepare and submit comments or evidence during the hearing. 5 M.R.S. § 9052(1)(B). The MPUC must provide notice to the public:

  • By publication, at least twice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the state affected;
  • By publication in any other trade, industry, professional or interest group publication which the agency deems effective in reaching persons who would be entitled to intervene as of right; and
  • In any other manner deemed appropriate by the MPUC.

5 M.R.S. § 9052(3).

Notice must include:

  • A statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the proceeding is being conducted;
  • A reference to the particular substantive statutory and rule provisions involved;
  • A short and plain statement of the nature and purpose of the proceeding and of the matters asserted;
  • A statement of the time and place of the hearing, or the time within which a hearing may be requested;
  • A statement of the manner and time within which evidence and argument may be submitted to the MPUC for consideration, whether or not a hearing has been set; and
  • When a hearing has been set, a statement of the manner and time within which applications for intervention under 5 M.R.S. § 9054 may be filed.

5 M.R.S. § 9052(4).

The MPUC must hold the hearing in accordance to Maine - 5 ME. REV. STAT. §§ 8001-11008, Administrative Procedure Act and Maine – 65-407-110 ME. CODE R. et seq., Public Utilities Commission – Rules of Practice and Procedure. The public may comment on the petition throughout the notice and hearing process.

8-ME-c.7 to 8-ME-c.8 – Review Petition for Approval

The MPUC may approve or disapprove all or portions of a proposed transmission line and must make such orders regarding its character, size, installation and maintenance as are necessary, having regard for any increased costs caused by the orders. The MPUC must give preference to the non-transmission alternatives that have been identified as able to address the identified need for the proposed transmission line at lower total cost to ratepayers. When the costs to ratepayers in Maine of the identified non-transmission alternatives are reasonably equal, the MPUC must give preference to the alternatives that produce the lowest amount of local air emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(5).

In its order, the MPUC must make specific findings with regard to the public need for the proposed transmission line. The MPUC must make specific findings with regard to the likelihood that non-transmission alternatives can sufficiently address the identified public need over the effective life of the transmission line at lower total cost. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6); 65-407-330 ME. CODE R. §§ 9(A).

Except as provided in 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6-A) for a high-impact electric transmission line (discussed below) and in accordance with 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6-B) regarding non-transmission alternatives, if the MPUC finds that a public need exists, after considering whether the need can be economically and reliably met using non-transmission alternatives, it must issue a Certificate for the transmission line. In determining public need, the MPUC must, at a minimum, take into account economics, reliability, public health and safety, scenic, historic and recreational values, state renewable energy generation goals, the proximity of the proposed transmission line to inhabited dwellings and alternatives to construction of the transmission line, including energy conservation, distributed generation or load management. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6); 65-407-330 ME. CODE R. §§ 9(B).

The MPUC must, as necessary and in accordance with 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(7)-(8), consider the findings of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection with respect to the proposed transmission line and any modifications ordered by the Department of Environmental Protection to lessen the impact of the proposed transmission line on the environment. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6).

The MPUC may deny a Certificate for a transmission line upon a finding that the transmission line is reasonably likely to adversely affect any transmission and distribution utility or its customers. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6).


‘’’High-Impact Electric Lines’’’

The MPUC must evaluate and render a decision on the Petition for a Certificate for a high-impact transmission line in accordance to 35-A M.R.S. § 122(1-D). 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6-A). A high-impact electric line means a transmission line greater than fifty (50) miles in length that is not located in a statutory corridor or a petitioned corridor, and that is:

  • Constructed to transmit direct current electricity; or
  • Capable of operating at 345 kV or more; and
  1. is not a generator interconnection facility; and
  2. is not constructed primarily to provide electric reliability, as determined by the MPUC.

35-A M.R.S. § 3131(4-A).

The MPUC may approve a high-impact electric line only if the electric line:

  • Materially enhances or does not harm transmission opportunities for energy generation in Maine;
  • Is reasonably likely to reduce electric rates or other relevant energy prices or costs for residents and businesses within Maine relative to the value of those rates, prices or costs but for the proposed energy infrastructure development or, if the deciding authority is unable to determine to its satisfaction the impact of the proposal on rates, prices or costs, the owner or operator of the proposed energy infrastructure agrees to pay annually an amount of money, determined by the deciding authority, to reduce rates, prices or costs over the life of the proposed energy infrastructure; and
  • Is in the long-term public interest of Maine.

35-A M.R.S. § 122(1-D)(A).

In making a determination as to whether the high-impact transmission line is in the long-term public interest of Maine, the MPUC must consider, at minimum, whether the high-impact transmission line:

  • Materially enhances or does not harm transmission opportunities for energy generation within Maine;
  • Is reasonably likely to reduce electric rates or other relevant energy prices or costs for residents and businesses within the state relative to the expected value of those electric rates or other energy prices or costs but for the proposed energy infrastructure development;
  • Increases long-term economic benefits for Maine, including but not limited to direct financial benefits, employment opportunities and economic development;
  • Ensures efficient use of the statutory corridor through collocation of energy infrastructure, collaboration between energy infrastructure developers and the preservation of options for future uses;
  • Minimizes conflict with the public purposes for which the state-owned land or asset is owned and any management plans for the land or asset within the statutory corridor and, when necessary, mitigates unavoidable impacts;
  • Limits and mitigates the effects of energy infrastructure on the landscape, including but not limited to using underground installation when economically and technically feasible;
  • Increases the energy reliability, security and independence of Maine; and
  • Reduces the release of greenhouse gases.

35-A M.R.S. § 122(1-D)(B).

8-ME-c.9 – Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

The issuance of a Certificate establishes that, as of the date of issuance of the Certificate, the decision by the person to erect or construct was prudent. If the MPUC orders or allows the erection of the transmission line, the order is subject to all other provisions of law and the right of any other agency to approve the transmission line. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6).

8-ME-c.10 – Provide Notice of Order

At the time of its issuance of a Certificate, the MPUC must send to each municipality through which a proposed corridor or corridors for a transmission line extends a separate notice that the issuance of the Certificate does not override, supersede or otherwise affect municipal authority to regulate the siting of the proposed transmission line. 35-A M.R.S. § 3132(6).

8-ME-c.11 – Petition to Reconsider (If Applicable)

Any party to the Certificate proceeding may petition to change, modify, rescind, clarify, reconsider, or vacate a MPUC decision or order within twenty (20) days after the MPUC has entered a decision in accordance with Maine – 65-407-110 ME. CODE R. et seq., Public Utilities Commission – Rules of Practice and Procedure.

8-ME-c.12 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

Any person who is aggrieved by a final MPUC decision may file a Petition to Appeal with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in accordance with. 35-A ME. REV. STAT. § 1320.


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