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Maine PUC orders CMP shareholders to pay for billing system audit, not ratepayers

CMP argued that 28% of audit costs should be paid by CMP shareholders and 72% should be paid by ratepayers. Maine PUC ruled 100% must be paid by shareholders.

MAINE, USA — The Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has ruled that Central Maine Power Company (CMP) shareholders must pay 100 percent of the $579,582 bill for the audit of the company's SmartCare billing system.

In its ruling, MPUC noted the following:

CMP is asking the Commission to read the statute too narrowly. All of the issues in Liberty’s audit arose out of a common set of facts, as laid out in detail in our final orders. It was the significant billing errors that arose in the transition to SmartCare and CMP’s abysmal customer-service response that led to the audit. And it was CMP’s failings that made it so difficult to discern whether the problems related to SmartCare exclusively or to the billing and metering system more broadly.

The statute requires the Commission to fairly allocate the costs of the audit between shareholders and ratepayers. Given the circumstances that led to the audit and the magnitude of harm to ratepayers from the imprudence it uncovered, it would be unfair to expect ratepayers to absorb any of the costs of the audit.

In 2018, MPUC hired Liberty Consulting group of Pennsylvania to conduct the audit after customers complained about unusually high bills.

According to MPUC's ruling, CMP argued that 28% of Liberty's audit costs should be paid by CMP shareholders and 72% should be paid by ratepayers.

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