With a turn of the thermostat, your gas furnace fires up to provide heat on a cold winter night. With the flick of a switch, the lights come on in your home. Both of these actions are common everyday occurrences, and both rely on regulated public utilities to supply the energy necessary to achieve the desired ends. For a vast majority of Mainers hardly any thought is likely given to these actions or the complicated regulatory framework that allows this energy to reach their homes. Yet energy use, as well as the accompanying body of law and policy that regulates energy utilities, pervades all aspects of modern society. Not only does energy power our consumer products and heat our homes, it also powers the industrial and commercial businesses that provide jobs and generate growth in our economy. In fact, as commentators have long noted, complex modern societies, such as ours, are completely dependent upon utility service. This dependence is only strengthened as technological advancements continue an d critical sectors of society, such as banking and finance, become ever more reliant on technology. Thus, as our dependence increases and energy plays an ever more important role in our society, it becomes progressively more important that the legal framework regulating energy utilities serves the public interest.

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