In a near-unanimous decision, the Maine Public Utilities Commission has decided to use the $8 million in overcharges to telephone customers to fund the state's school computer network for another two years, rather than refund the money to customers.

Committee members agreed that the Schools and Libraries Network had needs that surpassed those of individuals and their specific refunds. Steven Ward, Maine's public advocate, protested the decision, saying, "Our primary obligation is to represent the ratepayers." He added, "Here we have the opportunity to pass back to ratepayers some unspent dollars."

Rep. Thomas Davidson, D-Brunswick, sponsored a bill...

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