Central Maine Power Responds to Maine Public Utilities Commission Audit of Customer Care System Implementation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Augusta, Maine – December 20, 2018 – Central Maine Power Co. (CMP), a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE: AGR), today responded to the release of an audit of the company’s new SmartCare customer information, metering and billing system conducted by the Liberty Consulting Group at the direction of the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). The review was initiated earlier this year by the MPUC in the wake of a high volume of complaints received by the Commission’s Consumer Assistance Division.
The following statement was released by Doug Herling, president and CEO of CMP:
“Today’s release of findings associated with the audit and investigation conducted by the Liberty Consulting Group confirmed that CMP’s new SmartCare system and our smart meters are measuring customer usage accurately and appropriately and that all components of the system are collecting and transmitting data accurately as well. We hope these findings provide customers with a measure of confidence in the new system and the information in their bills.
The report also found that following CMP’s implementation of this new and complex system, we did not dedicate enough staff, training or management oversight to successfully execute the project. We should have anticipated and planned to handle the increase in customer inquiries as we worked through transition issues with the new system. As we previously acknowledged and reported to the MPUC, the implementation also caused small-scale system errors that were subsequently fixed.
More than anything, CMP failed to deliver the level of service that our customers expect and deserve when we introduced the SmartCare billing system. This is not acceptable. It is very important that customers understand that we acknowledge our full responsibility where we fell short of the mark.
While we have already taken many steps to address and rectify the resource and training issues within customer service, everybody at CMP remains firmly committed to addressing every one of the conclusions in the Liberty report.
We will continue to work with the Commission and the auditors on next steps of this process. More importantly we are dedicating the necessary resources to ensure high-quality service, and are working diligently to assure our customers’ satisfaction every time they contact us.
The events of the past year have taught all of us a clear lesson and we will continue to work hard to win back customer trust. This starts with taking responsibility when we fall short and finding the best way to correct problems when they arise.”
To date CMP has:
- Hired and trained extra employees in our call centers so that calls are answered promptly and our representatives are better equipped to help customers with their questions.
- Created management positions within the billing area and the customer contact center to increase management oversight and support in the department.
- Created a task force of experts to resolve outstanding issues that remain following the conversion to SmartCare.
- Launched a new cmpco.com website with enhanced functionality, easier access for customers, and improved search-functions.
- Implemented our customer service guarantee when customer bills are delayed, offering a $10 credit to each bill that is late for each month that it is late, ceasing all credit and collection activity for an extended period of time, and offering payment plan arrangements
We are also working to:
- Increase the automation of routine functions in order to free up staff to address more complex customer issues.
- Enhance training for all customer service staff to ensure they have the tools to address customer issues more proactively.
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About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with $31 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving 3.2 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates 7.1 gigawatts of electricity capacity, primarily through wind power, with a presence in 22 states across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,500 people. AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, received a Climate Development Project climate score of “A-,” the top score received in the utilities sector, and has been recognized for two consecutive years by Ethical Boardroom as the North American utility with the “best corporate governance practices.” For more information, visit avangrid.com.
About CMP: Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., is Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility. Established in 1899, CMP operates approximately 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines. It serves approximately 624,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine. For more information, visit www.cmpco.com.