PORTLAND, Maine — The Public Utilities Commission held the first of three hearings on Central Maine Power's request for a rate increase Tuesday night. CMP is looking to increase their delivery rate by 10.65%, which would bring in an additional $46 million dollars for the company. That request adds insult to injury for some customers who say they've been over-billed and unfairly treated.
"You've got a large corporate company, who is over billing people, and it's not even enough. They want a rate increase. People should be outraged," said one customer.
Nearly a hundred people took to Hannaford Hall on USM's Portland campus Tuesday night, to air their grievances with Central Maine Power in front of the Public Utilities Commission. Dozens of people got up to speak about their bills, which they said were either too high, or never came in the mail.
"The sense of helplessness and suspicion as a customer is only natural given the lack of information we have. I'm asking for fair and reliable bills that i can access and view. Considering other companies do this everyday, it seems like a reasonable request," said Heather Payson of Cape Elizabeth.
Other customers complained about CMP's customer service and response rate."Try calling yourself when you're busy," Michael Adams said. "When you're working your job and you call CMP and you're on the phone sitting there for 45 minutes to an hour, waiting for somebody to pick up the phone."
In regards to that rate hike, customers say: forget the hike until the other issues are solved. "Show action. Clear the backlog of at least the larger and easier ones, while the PUC doubles down on the bigger picture overall of consumer mis-service," said Herb Adams.
Some customers asked the PUC to get rid of Central Maine Power altogether.
"CMP has abused Mainers for years. And the public utilities commission needs to use it's authority to revoke CMP's monopoly power. It's time for CMP to stop cheating Maine. Thank you," said Robert DePaul.
CMP representatives attended tonight's meeting. CMP says they cannot comment on the experiences of individual customers without researching their accounts.
The next hearings are Thursday, in Farmington and Monday in Hallowell.