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I-Team: State regulators 'very concerned' about record-high CMP bills

For nearly a month we've shared stories from customers baffled by their bills. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- The Maine Public Utilities Commission is taking a closer look at the January and February bills of some Central Maine Power customers, including data collected by the CBS 13 I-Team.

For nearly a month we've shared stories from customers baffled by their bills.

Some have seen their usage double or triple without explanation and say they're not satisfied with the answers they're getting from CMP.

Hundreds of customers sent us their bills and we've looked at every single one, analyzing usage this year compared to last.

"The PUC has been getting complaints, the Office of the Public Advocate has been getting complaints, and what I see is very significant documentation and very thorough research by WGME. I'm going to talk to the PUC. This should be looked at," said Public Advocate Barry Hobbins.

Across the street at the PUC, we're told the data we provided is getting a serious look.

"It certainly raised our attention. We are taking this very seriously, and we are concerned. We're looking hard at it," said Harry Lanphear, Administrative Director at the PUC.

Lanphear said 100 CMP customers filed complaints directly with the Commission in January and February.

"When an issue like this comes to our attention and we have that many complaints we're just looking harder at it right now and trying to determine if there's a larger issue here," Lanphear said.

Lanphear said they haven't found any systemic issues so far and meter tests were normal.

A CMP spokesperson previously said they haven't found any issues that would cause bills to spike and the increase is likely due to cold weather or a bad appliance.

"We are not aware of any formal PUC inquiry into high bill issues, but that we look forward to working with the Commission to address any questions they have," CMP spokesperson Gail Rice said Wednesday afternoon.

Rice encourages customers to use Energy Manager and Usage Alerts to better understand their electricity use.

Monday we'll lay out the findings of our analysis and share what other electric companies experienced during the same period in question. Plus, why a local heating expert says the data suggests something isn't right.

"I'm going to give CMP the benefit of the doubt, but time is running out. We need to know why this happened," Hobbins said.

The PUC says it wants to hear from customers who have concerns about their bills: PUC Consumer Assistance Hotline: 1-800-452-4699

You can also send a copy of your bill to the I-Team to be part of our on-going investigation: tips@wgme.com

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