Resolution of Disputes

Pursuant to Chapter 880 §8

The Commission will adjudicate any disputes regarding joint-use utility poles, including disputes pursuant to 35-A M.R.S. §711, in accordance with the Expedited Complaint Resolution Process of Disputes Regarding Utility Pole Attachments established in Maine Public Utilities Commission, Investigation into Practices and Acts Regarding Access to Utility Poles, Docket No. 2010-00371, Order (July 12, 2011). A summary of the dispute procedure is attached to this Chapter as Attachment A. On or before January 31 of each calendar year, or any time the contact information changes, owners of joint-use utility poles must submit to the Commission contact information for use by current or prospective attaching entities. Contact information must include name, title, address, business phone number, and business email address. 

1. Activities Prior to Filing a Complaint

a. Complainant must call the contact for the party with whom there is a dispute and give notice that they are planning to file a complaint with the Commission Rapid Response Team the next business day.

2. Filing Complaints

a. Complainant files Complaint electronically to the RRPT (rapidresponse.PUC@maine.gov) and the responding party contact. The filing must contain the appropriate caption for the Complaint (name of company and date of filing), and the actual Complaint must be a document attached to the email. 

b. A Complaint must contain sufficient information to indicate:
     i. the facts underlying the Complaint;     
     ii. the harm which is resulting or could result to the Complainant due to the situation; 
     iii. a description of the steps which the parties have taken to resolve the situation prior to the filing of the Complaint; and
     iv.  whether or not Complainant is requesting a preliminary finding. The Complainant must also indicate the times both parties will      be available for a conference call within 2 business days after the Complaint is filed. 

3. Response to Complaint 

a. Respondent acknowledges the by email. The acknowledgement and any response must be emailed to the RRPT and the Complainant. The Respondent may:
     i.  respond to the factual issues in the Complaint; 
     ii. argue the Complaint should be dismissed or is otherwise not ripe for review; or

b. The RRPT will schedule a time for the Preliminary Conference Call within 2 business days of the date when the Complaint is filed. 

4. Preliminary Conference Call and Intermediate Dispute Resolution Process

a. Preliminary Conference Call: The following may occur: 
     i. Respondent may provide oral response to Complaint;
     ii. Deadline established for written response, if appropriate;
     iii. RRPT may request additional information from each party and set a schedule for its production;
     iv. RRPT may schedule follow-up telephone conference among the parties;
     v. RRPT may issue a Preliminary Finding or dismiss the complaint; either party may appeal to the Commission an adverse          Preliminary Finding or dismissal;
     vi. The issue may be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. 

b. Follow-up conference calls will be held at a time determined by RRPT and the following may occur: 
     i. Parties will update RRPT on progress since last call;
     ii. Parties will discuss information provided in response to any RRPT requests;
     iii. RRPT may issue a Preliminary Finding or dismiss the Complaint; either party may appeal to the Commission an adverse     Preliminary Finding or dismissal;     
     iv. The issue may be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties; or
     v. RRPT may request written comments and/or schedule a Notice of Decision Call. 

5. Notice of Decision and Final Order

a. If required by RRPT, a final conference call is held and the following may occur: 
     i. RRPT hears closing argument from parties and issues oral decision. 
     ii. RRPT hears closing argument from parties and schedules time for written decision. 

b. Within 7 business days of the filing of the Complaint, the RRPT will issue a final written decision (Final Order). Unless stayed by RRPT, the Final Order remains in effect pending appeal. 

c. Within 5 business days after written decision is issued, a party may: 
     i. Appeal the Final Order to full Commission.
     ii. Request a stay of the Final Order by the Commission pending appeal.