As both a Central Maine Power customer and former employee, I have been disappointed in CMP’s recent problems with billing and metering systems, customer service, reliability, and ratepayer costs, and its focus on reducing compensation for owners of solar installations and the controversial effort to create a transmission corridor for Canadian hydropower to flow through Maine for Massachusetts customers). As of 2017, Maine had the least reliable service in the nation and some of the highest power delivery rates.

CMP is a privately held company and is obligated to maximize the returns on investment for its shareholders. Decisions are often made with an eye toward increasing profits, rather than benefitting customers. When I first joined CMP in 1995, the company was headquartered in Maine, then it was bought out by Energy East, and management of the company moved to Rochester, New York, and then to Spain, home of Iberdrola, its newest owner.

As corporate decision-making moved further from CMP’s service area, problems with power delivery and billing have increased significantly and have not been adequately addressed. And now, supposedly to correct some of the problems and for “reliability upgrades,” the Maine Public Utilities Commission staff has recommended an 8.1% rate hike.

Rep. Seth Barry and others have sponsored a bill (L.D. 1646) in the Legislature that would create a Maine Power Authority, which would purchase CMP’s assets from Iberdrola using low-interest revenue bonds — not tax dollars. This would make CMP a consumer-owned utility open to public involvement in decision making. The end result will be lower costs and better reliability.

L.D. 1646 will be considered by the legislature during this session. Please ask your legislators to support this effort to bring more reliable and less costly electrical power to Maine. For an overview of the bill, go to bit.ly/MPOverview.

 

Steve Lauder

Waterville


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