HALLOWELL (WGME) – The Maine Public Utility Commission has recommended another investigation into Central Maine Power.
State regulators already have three active investigations into the company. They are looking into complaints about metering, billing and rates.
The recommended fourth investigation would research complaints about power outages and reliability from customers in Jackman, Caratunk and Dover-Foxcroft.
CMP customer Deke Sawyer is one of 10 people in Jackman who filed a complaint with the MPUC. He said that he and his neighbors are dealing with not only more power outages — but outages that last longer.
“We got people up here I’ve talked to who’ve lived here all their life and they say they’ve never seen it this bad,” he said.
The Jackman group alleged that since 2013, the number of outages in Jackman has increased by 275 percent.
CMP disputed that figure. Company officials said outages increased by 18 percent and that there were “unique challenges posed in providing service to Jackman.”
“They like to blame the trees and the weather,” Sawyer said. “We’re just trying to stand up for those who can’t afford a generator or have an illness they have to think about it.”
Similar complaints were filed from other customers in the rural areas of Dover-Foxcroft and Caratunk.
“The main problem are the amount of outages,” said Kathleen O’Neil, who lived in Dover-Foxcroft. “It causes frozen pipes. We have people on this road that having breathing machines and that’s an issue.”
CMP acknowledged that there had been an unusual number of recent outages in the area but said that most of them were caused by trees outside CMP’s trim zone.
The company said it planned to perform additional tree trimming.
Staff at the MPUC found the complaints had merit and should be combined into one investigation for further review.
Public comments need to be submitted to the MPUC by Friday, February 8, 2019.
Commissioners will then decide if they will proceed with the investigation, as suggested by their staff.