NEWCASTLE (WGME) – There are more questions for Central Maine Power as state regulators continue to investigate record-high bills.
One town administrator said he’s had to deal with “error on top of error” with the state’s largest power company.
CMP shut off power to the Newcastle public works property, even though they paid their bill on time.
“It was unfortunate we had a big storm here a couple weeks ago,” said Administrator Jon Duke.
According to Duke, when crews showed up to the town sand pile to get to work they discovered the property had no electricity. He said, “Come to find out CMP had disconnected power and we had no disconnection notice we had no idea power was even disconnected at that time.”
The town clerk who handles the bills said CMP got the checks for the town’s multiple accounts. She said she was told the payment was applied incorrectly.
“We had been paying bills on time and they lost checks and combined accounts and misapplied payments. It was really a mess,” said Duke.
Duke added it only took a couple hours to get the power back on, but then just two days later, the town’s fire chief started getting phone calls from CMP about disconnect notices for the firehouse.
In late February, the Public Utilities Commission launched an investigation into metering, billing, and customer communication at Central Maine Power.
That after I-Team found hundreds of customers had large, unexplained spikes in usage.
Duke said he wonders if the issue in his town is part of a larger problem.
A CMP spokesperson said she was looking into it.
According to state rules, while residential customers cannot be disconnected during the winter period, which ends April 15th, non-residential can be disconnected with proper notice. Again, the town administrator said they never got a disconnect notice for this property.
“It’s outrageous,” said State Representative Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, Chair of the Energy and Utilities Legislative Committee. “It’s wrong to disconnect someone without going through the proper process.”
During a hearing last week, CMP representatives told him and the other members, the company has found no problems with its new billing system or meters.
The PUC said it is actively investigating the situation in Newcastle and why the power was disconnected.
WGME received no additional comment or information from Central Maine Power.