Statement from CMP Regarding Metering and Billing, Customer Service Investigations
For Immediate Release
Augusta, ME — June 28, 2019 — Last weekend, the Portland Press Herald published an article about the history of the SmartCare rollout here at Central Maine Power. Following that story, the Press Herald printed several other pieces about the billing and metering investigation, and specific customer concerns about their bills.
Above all, we are concerned about customer statements reporting hardships. We are again reviewing the accounts of each customer featured in Press Herald reports and will confidentially provide the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) with any additional information discovered as a result of this review, including all internal records of their account usage information and interactions with our staff.
In addition, we continue to work diligently and collaboratively with the MPUC and the Office of Public Advocate (OPA) in the additional audit they are conducting that will further test the system and either confirm the existing audit or provide new information. CMP looks forward to that outcome.
It is important to note that both CMP and the Maine PUC’s independent auditor, Liberty Consulting Group, found “[w]eather and rate changes, not meter or AMI system error, caused high usage registration and rates across the system as a whole.” Should the current investigations uncover issues that resulted in overcharging customers, we will take immediate steps to make those customers whole.
Many of the allegations made in this series of articles with regard to CMP or Avangrid actions do nothing more than restate information that was provided in the Liberty Audit. Although CMP is constrained in its ability to speak openly about these issues in light of pending investigations, CMP asked to meet with the paper prior to the first story which ran last Sunday to ensure accuracy, and they refused.
We want to make it clear: CMP takes full responsibility for mistakes we made in communications and timing around the SmartCare rollout. We mailed an apology to all customers in early 2019 bills and we took out full page print advertisements to acknowledge our failings.
We have also taken steps to address the challenges by hiring more staff, increasing and enhancing training, and improving management oversight. We have addressed the challenges of delayed bills and in creating accounts for new customers through dedicated resources, and we remain vigilant in addressing any emerging customer needs.
We know the burden is on us to take the right actions to regain your trust and we continue to take concrete steps like the ones we have already implemented in order to improve our customer service. These are important steps, and we will continue to work hard to regain the trust of our customers.
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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 serves approximately 624,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine. CMP operates approximately 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines; over the last decade the company has invested approximately $2.6 billion in Maine system infrastructure. In 2019, CMP was named Large Business of the Year by the Kennebec Valley United Way.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with approximately $32 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.