Q&A with David Littell, Commissioner, Maine Public Utilities Commission

What is your reaction to how the EPA’s carbon emissions rule might affect your state? What are some ways your state is already prepared and what might be more challenging?

We’re still looking at it. We’re looking at it as a state, we’re also looking at it as a (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) state…We’re deregulated and most of the RGGI states are deregulated, so we don’t look at resource changes per se, but again because of the RGGI cap (on emissions), we don’t have to…At this point we’re not sure if we’re going to have to do anything or not…Our preliminary conclusion is that we may not need to make any changes.

Do you foresee your state having a formal or informal stakeholder process?

We had extensive stakeholders’ processes in setting up for RGGI and then most recently in program review both within the state and outside…Stakeholder processes are something we regularly do.

Do you feel your role and responsibilities as a state regulator are evolving? Why or why not?

Our responsibilities as state regulators are to look out for the ratepayers, the public interest and our utilities. Nothing in that process is going to change.

What are some of the biggest energy issues facing your state?

One issue that we’re looking hard at is the pipeline constraints coming into New England and what we should do about that if anything, and so that’s certainly a big issue in the winter when we’ve got a large heating, as well as electricity load, under certain conditions…so looking at that issue and what can be done to enhance reliability.

We certainly have some of the highest levels of reliance on natural gas in the country and that reliance certainly has played a role in creating this situation.

This interview was conducted at the NARUC summer meetings in July 2014. To see Q&As with commissioners from other states, visit our interactive map. For a broader story about how state regulators from around the country are reacting to the EPA’s carbon emissions proposal, click here.

If you’re a commissioner and didn’t get to talk to Morning Consult at the conference, feel free to contact Emily Holden. We’d love to hear from other state officials and stakeholders too.

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