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The Court Outlines a Narrow Path Through Which an Individual May Be a De Facto Party in a PSB Proceeding

In In re Application of Beach Properties, Inc. d/b/a Basin Harbor Club, for a Certificate of Public Good for an Interconnected Group Net-Metered Photovoltaic Electric Power System, 2015 VT 130 (October 16, 2015), the Vermont Supreme Court found that a commenter who opposed a project’s application for a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) had standing to file a motion to reconsider the CPG, despite not having filed for party intervenor status.

Issue: Whether a commenter who was heavily involved in the application process for a CPG had standing to file a motion for reconsideration and a notice of appeal of the granting of the CPG, despite not having applied for party intervenor status during the course of the proceedings before the Public Service Board.

Holding: The Court reversed and remanded, finding that the PSB erred in denying a commenter’s (Maguire) motion for reconsideration on the grounds that she lacked standing in the action. The Court conducted a highly fact-specific inquiry and stressed that its holding was limited to these particular facts, but ultimately held that Maguire became a de facto party in the action because she was not informed of the need to apply for party status by the Board, reasonably believed that she was a party in the action, and was effectively treated as such by both the Board and the applicant. As such, she had standing to file a motion for reconsideration. The Court declined to consider another party’s similar appeal, finding that that party had failed to file its notice of appeal in a timely fashion.

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