Central Maine Power Seeks to Extend Customer Protections in Wake of COVID-19 Economic Impacts, Patrols Critical Circuits
CMP plans to waive late payment and reconnection charges for all customers, files request to waive restrictions on payment plans
Company takes steps to prevent service interruptions to critical care facilities
AUGUSTA, Maine— March 19, 2020 — Central Maine Power Company announced that it is suspending late payment and customer reconnection charges for all customers and is seeking to extend protections to eligible customers participating in certain payment plans. The company is also deploying lineworkers to patrol all circuits that serve hospitals and other critical care facilities to help prevent any service interruptions while the need for medical assistance could be greatest.
“We are focused on ensuring continuity of the essential service we provide; specifically, we are working to prevent any disruption in service to critical facilities like hospitals, urgent care offices, and even food distribution centers.” said David Flanagan, Executive Board Chairman of CMP.
The company filed a request with the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to address the temporary payment plan adjustments and advised the MPUC that it would suspend late payment charges and reconnection charges – typically charged to customers moving into an existing location with CMP – for the duration of the moratorium period announced Monday by the Commission, during which no state utilities may disconnect customers.
Flanagan continued: “We are also very conscious of the financial impact of this pandemic. We believe that a temporary adjustment to the payment plans that allows eligible customers to remain in those plans longer than is typical is the right thing to do in the current circumstances. We can extend special consideration to customers who are making a good faith effort to pay their bills in these extraordinarily difficult times.”
Specifically, CMP has requested that eligible low-income customers who participate in the company’s Arrearage Management Program (AMP), who are striving to pay down accounts that are in arrears, not be terminated from the program in the event of missed payments.
Earlier this week, CMP and Public Advocate Barry Hobbins asked the MPUC to extend the period in which winter disconnection rules apply shortly before the MPUC issued its similar order for all Maine utilities.
CMP encourages any customer who is challenged to pay their electric bills to call the company to discuss possible sources of assistance and individual payment arrangements.
This week, CMP is actively dedicating its lineworkers to carefully patrolling those electric circuits that serve medical and other critical facilities. While the company follows a dedicated five-year trimming program across all its service territory to reduce outages that can be caused by overhanging trees and limbs, the line staff is checking to ensure there are no obstacles that could cause outages to a major facility.
CMP is committed to providing reliable service while keeping employees and customers safe and is implementing appropriate health and safety protocols. In addition to ensuring that all employees are practicing hygiene and social distancing recommendations from national and state public health officials, the company has restricted visitors from entering facilities, has provided support needed to enable some office staff to work from home, and can provide in-house accommodations such as food and cots so that employees who perform critical functions can remain at work if necessary. The company will continue to implement contingency measures as required to ensure employee and customer safety and service reliability.
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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 and based in Augusta, Maine, CMP serves approximately 624,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine. It 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. For more information, visit www.cmpco.com.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with approximately $34 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. With headquarters in Orange, Connecticut, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,600 people. AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2019 and 2020 by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
- Catharine Hartnett
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