|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 authorizes the PUC to implement 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." Unbundled (transportation-only) service is available to all commercial and industrial customers from each of the three gas utilities under its terms of service. In December 2005, the PUC approved a stipulation (Docket 2005-087) establishing 50-percent capacity assignment, non-daily metered transportation service, and tri-ennial integrated resource plan reviews for the State's largest gas utility, Northern Utilities, Inc., which serves approximately 26,000 customers in Maine and a similar number in neighboring New Hampshire. New transportation customers that have not previously been sales customers may elect capacity-exempt status.
|EIA State Profile: In 2005, Maine had 18,633 residential and 8,178 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 $16.17 and $14.38 per thousand cubic feet, respectively.