Central Maine Power

Central Maine Power

This story was originally published at 4:56 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2018.

As part of a deal to win a state permit for a major transmission project eight years ago, Central Maine Power (CMP) agreed to transfer the scenic Kennebec River Gorge to the state. But that never happened. Environmentalists say that raises troubling questions about a new CMP project that would cross the same gorge.

Documents show 97,000 Maine power customers saw their bills double between December 2017 and February 2018.

WMTW-TV reports Central Maine Power filed documents with the state Public Utilities Commission Tuesday that showed 140,000 bills for monthly and average daily usage in that time period saw increases of more than 50 percent.

The state launched an audit into Central Maine Power after about 1,500 customers contacted the commission about high winter power bills.

M. Spencer Green / Associated Press File

State regulators are expanding their inquiry of complaints from more than 1,000 Central Maine Power customers who say they were overbilled during the winter.

In some cases customers say their bills doubled or tripled from the same time last year — more than can be accounted for by a recent hike in the price of electricity or by the plunge in temperatures around Christmas.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Utility regulators will decide this week whether to open a full investigation into Central Maine Power over customer complaints of skyrocketing bills and poor service.
 
The Maine Public Utilities Commission says it has received more than 1,000 complaints from the utility's customers. The commission has conducted a preliminary review of the complaints and will meet Tuesday to decide whether to pursue a management audit.
 

Central Maine Power wants ratepayers to invest $200 million or more in Portland-area electricity infrastructure. But some lawmakers and the state’s utility watchdog say the company is underestimating the potential for alternatives that could be much cheaper and much better for the environment.

State utility regulators are launching an inquiry into complaints about billing errors Central Maine Power customers say started to surface late last year.

Public Utilities Commission member Bruce Williamson says CMP’s error-prone rollout of a new billing system coincided with outages in the wake of the late October windstorm, creating an unhappy combination.

LePage Vows To Push Through $950M Project To Send Quebec Hydropower Through Maine

Feb 17, 2018
Colin Perkel / AP - BDN

Massachusetts chose a $950 million project headed by Maine utility Central Maine Power to be its backup option for a massive clean energy procurement that appeared headed to New Hampshire before regulators there nixed it last week.

Central Maine Power (CMP) is forging ahead with plans to build a major transmission line in western Maine to bring wind and hydro power from Canada into New England's electricity grid. This is despite losing its bid for a big renewable energy contract from Massachusetts this week, which was instead provisionally awarded to a New Hampshire-based transmission project, called Northern Pass.

PORTLAND, Maine - More than 11,000 customers remain without power in Maine in the wake of a strong winter storm that brought ice, freezing rain and snow to the state.
 
Central Maine Power says the outages are scattered all over the state. The highest concentration is in coastal Lincoln County, which had more than 5,200 customers without power at midday Wednesday.
 
Kennebec, Somerset and Androscoggin counties reported more than 1,000 customers without power at midday.
 

Willis Arnold / Maine Public

Maine’s largest electric utility has a new leader, Doug Herling. A Maine native, Herling started with Central Maine Power as an equipment operator in 1985. He rose through the ranks, most recently overseeing electric operations for parent-company Avangrid, a company that serves 2.2 million customers in New England.  Herling sat down with Maine Public's Ed Morin to discuss consumer costs, the influence of renewable energy,  and his vision for the company.

Willis Arnold / Maine Public

Maine's largest electric utility has a new CEO.  Doug Herling took over operations of Central Maine Power Company Jan. 1, a day after the utility's long-time leader Sara Burns stepped down. 

PORTLAND, Maine - Central Maine Power President and CEO Sara Burns is stepping down at the end of the year.
 
The utility's parent company, Avangrid Inc., announced Thursday that Burns is retiring after leading the company for nearly 20 years, starting as president in 1998 and CEO in 2005.
 
She will join the Avangrid Networks Board of Directors in January.
 
Bob Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks Inc., praised Burns as "a civic leader in Maine and a respected professional throughout the energy industry.''
 

Just a few days after power was finally restored to nearly all of the hundreds of thousands of Maine customers who lost it in last week's storm, about 28,000 people are once again without it at this hour.

The culprit, once again, is gusty winds. The National Weather Service says winds are now gusting at 20-30 miles per hour across the state, with some gusts up to 40.

Central Maine Power is reporting just under 22,000 outages. CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice says these winds are causing more outages than usual because of last week's storm.

Some Mainers still waiting for power after last week's storm are frustrated with Central Maine Power. 

Harpswell resident Howard Marshall says wires are still lying in his street, but the area hasn't been listed as without power on CMP's website for days.

"I understand it's a lot of damage and everything," Marshall says. "My main frustration is they're claiming that they've reconnected all of us."

Central Maine Power spokeswoman Gail Rice says even though some streets might not be listed, CMP is confident with its outage numbers. 

Electric crews continue to make progress toward restoring power to some 80,000 customers of Emera and Central Maine Power who have been without electricity since a wind storm tore through the state Sunday night and Monday. 

That's down from about half a million customers at the height of the storm. 

"We are at the slowest part of this - and the slowest because you might have four or six bucket trucks on a road that are going to pick up two customers," says Sara Burns, CEO of CMP, Maine's largest utility.

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