Central Maine Power Company (CMP) delivers over 9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity yearly to more than 600,000 retail electric customers in central and southern Maine. CMP's 11,000-square-mile service area is larger than the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined. It contains about 78 percent of Maine's population and major commercial and manufacturing centers.
CMP traces its origins to November 7, 1899. On that date the founding partners, attorney Harvey Eaton and engineer Walter Wyman, bought a hydroelectric generator providing street lighting and service to about 100 customers in the village of Oakland, Maine. They soon began a long program of developing new hydro sites, expanding their service area through interconnection and acquisitions, and lowering prices as unit costs fell. They began using the name Central Maine Power in 1910. In 1999, CMP delivered more than 9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to over 540,000 Maine homes, businesses, schools, churches, and other users.
As of December 31, 2008, CMP's delivery system comprised 2,536 miles of overhead transmission lines, 23,249 pole-miles of distribution line, 1,290 miles of underground or submarine cable, and 282 substations for routing energy and regulating voltage. The company's bulk power network connects with other electric systems at the New Hampshire and New Brunswick borders. Facilities also include regional service centers, garages, offices, and other property. Peak power demand on the CMP system in 2008 was 1,580 megawatts. CMP's service-area operating revenues were $372 million in 2008. The utility employs approximately 1,200 people.
Over its first 99 years of operation, CMP built up an extensive generation system of hydroelectric, oil-fired, nuclear, and biomass generation, plus State-mandated contracts for substantial amounts of non-utility energy. CMP's legal obligation to arrange power supply for its customers ended on March 1, 2000 under a utility restructuring policy put in place by the Maine Legislature. The Company continues to be responsible for operating and maintaining the transmission-and-distribution system, including functions like service connections, outage restoration, and system improvements and upgrades as required.
CMP operates under a PUC-approved system of indexed price caps intended to hold price increases below the rate of inflation. The price caps have kept changes in CMP's Maine-regulated delivery prices below the rate of inflation for more than a decade. In fact, since March 2000, CMP delivery prices have decreased by about 30 percent.