The Maine Public Utilities Commission is considering whether to add through the rulemaking process new electric utility performance standards and reporting requirements that would be similar to those proposed in a bill before the Legislature.

The move would add metrics for service interruptions, reliability, customer service, billing performance and customer satisfaction. It would also require affected utilities to report those metrics to their customers each year. A public hearing on the proposed changes is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 7, and written comments are being accepted through April 27, the commission said Thursday.

“The proposed amendments include substantial modifications to the existing rule intended to measure utility performance … with respect to outage frequency and duration, storm restoration, call-center responsiveness, billing errors and customer satisfaction as a means of motivating improvement in these critical areas,” it said in a news release. “The proposed amended rule also requires the utilities to report to customers and to the Commission concerning these performance metrics.”

Maine already has performance standards in place for utilities’ general service quality, but the change would make those standards much broader and more specific.

If the PUC approves the rule change, investor-owned power utilities such as Central Maine Power and Versant Power would be required to issue a report to each of their residential customers with information about the utility’s performance and rates each year starting in 2023. Consumer-owned utilities would be required to start issuing the reports in 2024.

The new rules also would require power companies to randomly survey a statistically reliable sample of customers who have contacted the utility with a report, request, inquiry, complaint or request for work. The purpose of the survey would be to assess the level of customer satisfaction with the utility’s response, the PUC said.


During major outages, the utilities would be required to provide regulators with hour-by-hour calculations of the percentage of customers affected, as well as the percentage of customers whose power was restored. They also would be required to provide annual reports to the PUC detailing the effects of major outages on their customers. The PUC would be authorized to ask for additional information to assess the reasonableness of the company’s restoration response during major outages.

The proposed changes are similar to those proposed in a pending bill championed by Gov. Janet Mills. The bill also would impose penalties for poor performance, add more protection for whistleblowers who report illegal or improper behavior by a utility, authorize the PUC to audit utilities’ financial information and require utilities to submit regular plans to address the impact of climate change on their infrastructure.

Power companies have said the proposed new standards and penalties aren’t necessary because their service and accountability have improved recently. Opponents said the bill doesn’t go far enough to rein in power companies owned by foreign conglomerates.

The bill has received a public hearing and work session, but the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee split three ways on whether to support various proposed amendments.

To participate in the PUC’s April 7 virtual hearing at 1 p.m. by phone, call 207-209-4724 and enter conference ID: 534 470 511#. To participate via videoconferencing, email [email protected] for a link to Microsoft Teams.

The hearing will also be streamed live at

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