Green Mountain Power’s blown deadline brings official rebuke

Regulators gave a dressing-down to the state’s largest utility Wednesday, after Green Mountain Power missed a key deadline for what company representatives describe as a relatively minor filing.

The utility, a subsidiary of the Canadian natural gas firm Gaz Metro, was supposed to have submitted a filing on proposed rates for a small number of customers by mid-August, according to the Vermont Public Utility Commission. Instead, on Sept. 27, only three days before the rates were to take effect, GMP asked for an extension to the August deadline.

The rate filing will affect fewer than 1,000 people, and Green Mountain Power has sought to prevent any rate changes for those customers until April, once the upcoming heating season has passed, said GMP spokeswoman Kristin Carlson.

The utility has been working closely with the Vermont Department of Public Service on the proper structure for these and other rates, and the failure to submit the paperwork on time arose from “an abundance of caution,” Carlson said.

The papers will be filed by Nov. 1, she said.

In an order, the PUC said commissioners have “serious concerns about the late filing of GMP’s request and the failure of GMP to explain why it was unable to file this request on a more timely basis.”

The PUC needs more information to decide whether to grant the request, commissioners wrote, because the letter GMP sent requesting the deadline extension “lacked factual support for … why postponing” the filing would serve the interests of GMP customers.

Green Mountain Power also should have requested the deadline extension in the form of a legal motion, and not in the form of a letter to the commission’s clerk, PUC members said.

Everyone involved will need to file any further recommendations on the subject by Friday, the order states.

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