|Overview: Maine began the process of restructuring its natural gas industry in the late 1990s. The State legislature modified the public utility commission's (PUC) authority in 1998. Legislation was enacted in 1999 (P.L. 1999, ch. 143) that requires gas marketers to register with the PUC and requires the PUC to consider the need for rules on supplier licensing and "any other subject of natural gas unbundling that requires additional regulation." On June 4, 1999, the PUC initiated a proceeding, "Inquiry into Natural Gas Competition and Unbundling Issues, Docket No. 99-342." The inquiry was suspended in late 1999, although the PUC noted in a 2001 order (Docket 2000-587) that the inquiry will be reactivated "if market conditions warrant." The PUC did adopt 50-percent capacity assignment for commercial and industrial customers of its largest local distribution company, Northern Utilities, Inc., in December 2005 (Docket 2005-087).
|EIA State Profile: In 2004, Maine had 18,707 residential and 7,687 commercial customers. They consumed 1 and 5 billion cubic feet of natural gas, respectively. The average prices paid for natural gas purchased from local distribution companies by residential and commercial customers were $14.00 and $12.30 per thousand cubic feet, respectively.