Looking at the summaries of oral arguments heard last week, one struck my eye, so I listened in. The merits of the dispute go to the legality of the Maine PUC’s net metering rule, an issue we won’t discuss. It’s a jurisdictional issue the Commission raised, with impact beyond this particular case, which I’d like to examine here.
The PUC said that when you challenge a PUC rule as opposed to a quasi-adjudicatory determination, you can’t file a direct appeal to the Law Court under 35-A MRS § 1320. Instead, you have to file a declaratory judgment action in Superior Court under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 M.R.S. § 8058. Conservation Law Foundation v. PUC, PUC-17-185(schedule) (oral argument).
Is the PUC right? Obviously, the Court will provide the final word. If someone voted me Queen Decider, I’d say the Superior Court only has concurrent jurisdiction as to