by Madeline Rheaume
A $1 million dollar penalty was served to Maine’s largest power company on Thursday, January 30th by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). The commission cited the company’s poor customer service along with the mismanagement of the new billing system.
This fine comes just a week after an internal investigation into Central Maine Power (CMP) was ordered by the company’s president, Doug Herling, in response to reports saying customers had received notices in the mail that threatened the customer with disconnection of power. This is something that CMP is not legally allowed to do during the months of April through November unless they send a request to the MPUC. The MPUC responded by saying CMP had not sent any requests in over a year.
CMP has been under fire for some time now. With customer complaints of being unsatisfied with not only the company’s lackluster customer service, but its recent price hikes on monthly power bills as well. Though there was no “root cause” revealed for the dramatic price hikes, the MPUC has ordered CMP to make it right by establishing credit and refunds. It was reported that the customers who reported discrepancies in their bills between November 1st, 2017 and December 31st, 2019 have received over $5 million in credits and refunds from CMP.
While the fine may seem like a step in the right direction, it brings up questions concerning the resources Maine has to best serve its residents. Between rate hikes and poor customer service, one can’t help but question the integrity and reliability of CMP. There’s no doubt that issues and concerns around the proposed CMP corridor will arise as this story and the companies own investigation goes on.
While ads promoting the corridor will reassure you that it will connect from Quebec to right here in Maine, it’s not where it connects that is the main concern. The corridor’s purpose is to send power from Quebec to customers in Massachusetts. There are no presented benefits to Maine as it will not produce power or sustainable jobs for residents. It also doesn’t present any benefits to global greenhouse emissions. It will, however, leave a 145-mile transmission line through the heart of Maine.