Central Maine Power Company Prepares to Turn The Lights Off on 60,000 Mainers
For Central Maine Power Company its affectionately known as 'spring disconnect season'. This is primarily because, without special approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the Maine power giant cannot disconnect people over the winter time.
However, now that warmer weather is here, residents who have not made payment or defaulted on their Central Maine Power bills are subject to power disconnection. Sure, there are extenuating circumstances that can help keep the lights on, like a note from your doctor explaining a valid medical reason, however, in most cases, months of unpaid or underpaid bills will end with the same result- a dark home.
According to an article from WMTW News 8, Central Maine Power Company, and it's parent, Avangrid, has sent about 62,000 disconnection notices to customers so far this spring. So far, according to VP of Customer Service, Linda Ball, only about 3,100 of those customers have been disconnected- so far.
The staggering increase in disconnection notices is due, at least in part, to rate hikes that went into effect in 2023. Those rate hikes have caused the average Mainer who used CMP to pay an extra (on average) $32 per month.
Nikki Williams, director of Maine's 211 assistance program, told the news outlet that call volume for electric assistance alone is up well over 100% from last year. A staggering statistic that has state officials concerned for the future.
Central Maine Power does have a Electricity Lifeline Program to help consumers that may be in a financial bind. They can help by offering payment arrangements in certain circumstances.
However, the crisis may only get worse is Central Maine Power is currently waiting on PUC approval for another rate hike that would be spread out over the next three years and take effect this July. At the end of the three years, most Mainers would be paying another $10 more than they are now in Spring of 2023.