URGENT: Submit Your Testimony to the MPUC by 4 p.m., 21 August

From Ed on 11 August 2013:

 I’m out of the hospital and back to Kathleen’s for phase 2 of my recovery. I won’t be too involved for a while yet. A few days ago Maine PUC had a public hearing in our safety investigation (with one week’s notice). Turnout was awful, with about 30 people for the combined two sessions and with only about 12 testifying. Thanks to those who did turn out! The commission is allowing two weeks for electronic submission of written comments, which must be notarized. If you care to submit, please do. Please see the MPUC’s procedural order, and the ad that we ran in major papers.
Thank you all for your good thoughts, and don’t crash your helicopter!

The MPUC produced the following procedural order on 6 August (click on the link above):

Public witnesses unable to attend the August 7, 2013 public witness hearing in this matter may submit written public witness testimony to the Commission in lieu of providing live public witness testimony at the hearing. The Commission will only accept such testimony if it is submitted in affidavit form under oath. The deadline for the submission of such testimony is 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 21, 2013. All such testimony should be filed electronically in the above captioned Docket using the Commission’s online Case Management System. Any party to this proceeding may object to the admissibility of any such testimony on evidentiary grounds. Such objections are due no later than 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 4, 2013.

Although the Procedural Order implies that you can only submit your affidavit electronically, Mitch Tannenbaum at the MPUC confirmed by phone on 15 August 2013 that you can instead mail it or deliver it in person. This is reasonable and helpful, since obviously not everyone has access to a scanner, and not everyone can successfully navigate the byzantine MPUC online system. To meet the letter of the procedural order, however, we recommend that you attempt to file your notarized testimony electronically. In any case, the document must be notarized.

If you don’t know a notary public, try calling your public library—a staff member might be a notary public. Have photo ID with you when you take your affidavit to be notarized.

If you need assistance or would like more information about MPUC requirements for the affidavit, call the MPUC main number, 207.287.3831, and be prepared to supply the docket number (2011-262).

Wondering what to include in your affidavit? In the MPUC public hearing testimony transcript (click here), Commissioner David Littell (e.g., page 5, lines 3–6 and 12–17) indicates that the hearing focuses on witnesses’ experiences and concerns about health effects, although the commission will accept other information from witnesses.

Hard copy (must be received by 4:00 p.m. on 21 August): Mail your signed and notarized witness affidavit to: Maine Public Utilities Commission, 18 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333-0018. To deliver it in person or send it by FedEx/UPS, use the street address: Maine Public Utilities Commission, 101 Second St., Hallowell ME 04347.

Electronic submission (must be posted by 4:00 p.m. on 21 August): These steps are based on earlier instructions from Dianne Wilkins—thank you, Dianne! (If your browser blocks pop-ups, you must change the setting to allow pop-ups from “mpuc-cms.maine.gov.”)

  1. Scan your signed and notarized witness affidavit and save it as a JPG or PDF file. The filename of your document should follow the form “Public Witness Affidavit of [YOUR NAME]”).
  2. To file your testimony online, go to: https://mpuc-cms.maine.gov/CQM.Public.WebUI/Comments/PublicComments.aspx?CaseNumber=2011-00262
  3. Enter the required information: name and address. In the “Comments” section, write “See attached public witness affidavit.” Your testimony will not be admitted if you do not attach a signed and notarized file.
  5. In the pop-up box, click on “BROWSE” to select the JPG or PDF file with your signed and notarized affidavit. Then click on “Open,” which will return you to the “Add/Remove Attachments” box.
  6. Click on “Add.” Be sure that the file under the “Attachments Added” line is your signed and notarized affidavit.
  7. Click on “DONE.”
  8. Click on “Post Comment.”

Thank you for being part of our grassroots effort to restore sane, safe, and TRULY SMART electricity to Maine’s homes and businesses! And thanks to Ed and Kathleen for staying in this fight despite, yes, a helicopter crash.