CMP Pledges To Improve Customer Notices
CEO: ‘We should treat our customers as friends and neighbors’
AUGUSTA, Maine— January 29, 2020 — Central Maine Power Co. (CMP) has agreed to stop sending service disconnection notices temporarily, while it ensures these communications are consistent with regulatory expectations and the company’s values.
“As a matter of fairness to all CMP customers, it is important to make every effort to collect on delinquent accounts. However, the language in our communications should reflect who we aspire to be as a company, and we must always be respectful of our customers’ needs and challenges,” CMP President and CEO Doug Herling said. “We should treat customers as friends and neighbors.”
The Maine Public Utilities Commission is reviewing CMP’s disconnection notices after several customers complained they had been notified they were scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment during the winter moratorium.
CMP will review these communications in keeping with its recently announced “Power On” campaign in which the company has focused on instituting meaningful change inside the company as a reflection of its commitment to customers. “Although we believe CMP’s winter disconnection-related communications were technically accurate and met regulatory requirements, we should have communicated more clearly and more respectfully with customers about when and how they could be disconnected as a result of nonpayment,” Herling said.
Maine PUC regulations generally prohibit electric utilities from disconnecting residential customers for nonpayment during the winter moratorium (Nov. 15 to April 15) without permission from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
However, if a customer has not responded to multiple collection attempts, including mailed notices, at least two phone calls, and a residential visit, CMP may perform what is known as a “cycle disconnection” during the winter moratorium without PUC approval. A cycle disconnection is a daytime-only disconnection that can be done under certain weather and occupancy conditions.
CMP was not sufficiently clear in its communications regarding its option to perform a cycle disconnection during the winter months.
CMP seeks to empower customers so that they are aware of their rights, the assistance programs and resources available to them, and the consequences of nonpayment.
The company encourages any customer who has questions about bills, or is having difficulty making payments, to visit cmpco.com or call 800.750.4000 to learn more about available assistance so they can continue to receive reliable CMP service all year round.
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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. AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates 7.2 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 and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2019 by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
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