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Maine PUC launches investigation into CMP over disconnect notices

PUC initiated an investigation into rates and revenue and improper notices pertaining to CMP.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Public Utilities Commission has opened an investigation into "improper notices" sent by CMP that may use "inaccurate and misleading" language about disconnections. 

PUC initiated an investigation into rates and revenue and improper notices pertaining to CMP. 

"CMP will fully cooperate with the MPUC order and provide the information requested regarding the company’s practice of issuing disconnection notices in the winter period," CMP spokesperson Catharine Hartnett said. "Based on recently expressed public comment and media coverage, the company feels there is clearly an opportunity to improve public understanding of the law as well as the goal of the company to have customers communicate with us if they are challenged in paying bills,"

On January 16, the MPUC launched its investigation into CMP following a notice by state representative Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham) alerting the MPUC of improper disconnect notices issued to customers that say CMP may discontinue service without the approval of the MPUC.

"The comment that I posted showed examples of the behavior that I found to be misleading...egregiously misleading. In fact, a flat out lie," Berry said.

MPUC also completely rejected a proposal on Tuesday that would have benefited CMP by doubling the fixed monthly charges for residential and small business customers over the next four years.

“Today’s decision by the PUC is a victory for Maine’s electricity consumers and is entirely consistent with the state’s goal to transition away from expensive, polluting fossil fuels to cost-effective clean energy solutions," NRCM Clean Energy Attorney Sue Ely said. 

"Central Maine Power appreciates the complexities of the rate design issues that the MPUC has studied and deliberated today, CMP spokesperson Catharine Hartnett said Tuesday. "Decisions about customer charges, time-of-use rates and optional demand rates must necessarily balance benefits to customers with costs, and do so across a spectrum of customer income levels and power usage practices. While CMP is disappointed in the outcome, the rate design details considered in this rate case have offered the opportunity to examine these issues anew in light of CMP’s current cost structure and customer usage patterns."

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