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MPUC Electronic Case Filing and Consumer Complaint System

December 5, 2013

DECEMBER 5, 2013

MPUC's Electronic Case Filing and Consumer Complaint System (CMS)

In July 2012, the Public Utilities Commission transitioned from its previous electronic filing system to a new electronic case filing and consumer complaint application called CMS. With this system, all case documents will be filed and available electronically. Additional benefits with the system include:

-• Improved sorting and searching to make it easier to find case documents and to research topics in cases,

-• Ability to keep track of data requests and responses,

-• Automatic notices of filings to parties and to others who are interested,

-• Robust security functions to manage confidential documents, making them available electronically but only to those given authorization to view them,

-• Improved efficiency of the Consumer Assistance Division’s processes, customers wishing to file a complaint against a utility can do so electronically. Additionally, the Consumer Assistance Division will continue to take phone calls from customers.

-• Improved Commission case management and other internal processes. Below is some basic information to help you access and use this CMS system.

How do I Register to Participate in Cases in the New Electronic Case Filing Application?

If you are, or will be, participating in a case at the MPUC, there are steps you should take to become a registered user in the new Electronic Case Filing Application. If you just wish to view information and public documents, you may use the Public Access site to the system with no registering or login.

-• First, register as a User. Click on the Registered Users button on the MPUC web page, then click on New User Registration. Fill in the fields, considering the following:

-• Required fields are denoted by red asterisks.

-• User IDs must be at least 8 characters long and cannot have spaces

-• Passwords must be at least 8 characters long and must include numbers, at least one Upper Case Letter, and at least one special character (@, #, $, etc.)

-• The first Company/Organization field is the company you work for (which may not be the company you represent for PUC purposes)

-• The Representing Company/Organization field is for the company(ies) you represent. This is not required, except that if you will be filing in cases as representing a company or companies, then you will need to add those companies to your profile.

-• To populate your profile with the companies that you represent, click the “Add” hyperlink. All regulated utilities will be available to choose from. The window allows you to add criteria to shorten the list to select from, such as utility type, the first few letters of the company name, etc. Check the box next to the company(ies) you wish to add and click on the select button.

-• If you represent an organization that is not a utility, you may choose “Other” and “Other” as the Industry Type and Subtype, and search for your organization. If it is not present, call the Commission at 287-3831 and ask that it be added.

-• You may add more than one company or organization. You may return to the screen in the future to add more companies/organizations or to remove them.

-• The Registration screen requires the use of SPAM proof software called reCAPTCHA, so you will have to enter the two odd words or numbers presented to you in order to complete the registration process. If you cannot read one or more of the words, click on the refresh icon on the top right to get a new pair of words until you can read both.

-• After submitting your registration you will receive an email notification with a hyperlink and instructions. You must go to the hyperlinked page and confirm your registration. (if clicking on the hyperlink does not work in your email system, copy and paste it into your browser’s URL field to go to the confirmation screen. Once this is done, you will be registered to submit documents into the new application.

-• Next, put yourself on the “Notification List” for each case you are participating in. To do this, again click on the Registered User button and log in using your User ID and password. Click on Manage Subscriptions. Partway down the screen, click on Subscribe to Case Notification List.

-• On the next screen, enter the case number you are participating in. Click in all three boxes to receive notification of all filings made in the case. Hit Subscribe.

-• The Lead MPUC staff person in the case will be alerted that you have completed this process.

How can I get training?

At this point MPUC is no longer conducting general training classes for the system though, as additional functionality is added to the system, we may hold specific training sessions.

Training and Help documents can be found at http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/online/index.shtml Approximately each quarter, MPUC is holding meetings for Registered Users of the system to hear from them how it is working and what could be improved. The email list used to send invitations to these meetings is pulled from the system's list of registered users.

Customers wishing to file a complaint against a utility can also do so electronically. Additionally, the Consumer Assistance Division will continue to take phone calls from customers.

Must I still serve other parties with my filings in adjudicatory cases?

No. When you make a filing in an adjudicatory case, the new system will send an email to all parties in the case, notifying them of the filing. They may then view the filing on the system. Thus, you no longer need to serve notice or provide paper or electronic copies of filings to other parties.

How does the system handle confidential material? The system has rigorous safeguards to protect confidential material.

You file confidential documents electronically through the new computer screens. You specify on the screens that the filing is confidential, and enter the Protective Order governing approved access to the document. The system will grant viewing access only to persons who the Commission Staff has designated as having such permission. Protective Orders will govern the parties or persons designated by the Commission. You will no longer send confidential documents to other parties in the case, as many filers do now. Persons with permission to view a particular confidential document can find and view it through the system’s computer screens.

Will Consumer Assistance Division filings be made in the same fashion as other Commission filings?

Consumer Assistance Division cases are also handled by the CMS system. Customers are able to submit complaints or questions on a computer screen, or they may phone a Consumer Specialist as they often do now. Most letters and emails associated with consumer cases will be exchanged between the Commission and utilities in the same manner they are done now. However, certain utility filings such as variance requests are now made through the system. Consumer appeals are handled through the system in the same manner as are all other Commission cases.

Are closed/old cases migrated over to this system?

Yes. All closed cases are present on the new system. All non-confidential filings in those cases are viewable, but confidential documents for cases closed previous to system implementation (July 2012) remain on paper only. Other documents for very old cases (pre-1997) are available in the system but through a different menu item than newer cases.

Please email maine.PUC@maine.gov for any questions you have regarding what is in the system and how to access it. You may also call (207) 287-3831, say that you have questions or issue with the system, and you will be connected to someone who can help you through your issues.

Can I view Commission proceedings over the web?

Yes. The current process for live-streaming Commission proceedings over the web has not changed.