LEWISTON – A public hearing Tuesday about a three-year rate increase plan by Central Maine Power drew only a few comments from people concerned about their rising utility bills.

Paul Raysik of Lewiston told the Maine Public Utilities Commission that it needs to do more to hold down costs.

“Why is power so much here?” Raysik asked.

The hearing focused only on how much CMP should get for distributing power to customers. It had little to do with soaring energy supply costs.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission hears testimony Tuesday from a few Central Maine Power customers urging it to restrain a proposed rate increase. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

The proposed increase would add $60 a year to the average residential customer bill in the first year and then about half as much in each of the following two years, with the money going to replace aging equipment, automate more systems, add new digital tools for customers and more.

Phil Bartlett, chairman of the commission, said he expects the PUC to decide about the rate increase in July after hearing more from customers, the company and experts.


Dave Leissner from Carmel said the company “needs to make a profit” if people want to keep their lights shining.

But, he said, he doesn’t want to shell out more to subsidize programs for broadband, electric vehicles and solar farms.

Plus, Leissner said, he doesn’t like that CMP wants $2.4 million from ratepayers to cover its cost for presenting the case for an increase, something that generates hundreds of pages of complex documentation.

Leissner said that figuring out how much of an increase is needed for distribution costs seems like something “two engineers over morning coffee” could figure out for a lot less.

Rep. Margaret Craven, a Lewiston Democrat, told the PUC at the hearing at the Ramada by Wyndham Lewiston Hotel & Conference Center that her constituents are hoping for a reasonable increase and no more.

Utility bills are a real burden for many people, she said.

“Something needs to change,” Paul Baribault of Lewiston said.

The request would bring in about $227 million for CMP over the three-year period beginning this fall.

The PUC plans to hold more public hearings on the rate increase request in Hallowell on Thursday and in Saco next Tuesday.

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