From Augusta

Parties negotiate Central Maine Power rate hikes over next two years

Wed, 05/31/2023 - 7:00pm

    AUGUSTA – Central Maine Power ratepayers will see more bill increases this summer, next January 1, July 2024 and January 2025, contingent on approval of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

    The increase on July 1, 2023, translates into a total overall bill increase of approximately 1.08% for CMP customers, or about $1.67 per month for an average residential customer using 550 kilowatt hours per month, according to a news release from the Maine Office of the Public Advocate.

    A major driver of the company’s requested increase was its significant capital investment program.  The company argued that it has made these investments to improve customer service. 

    The settlement calls for an increase of approximately $16.75 million on July 1, 2023, and additional step increases of the same amount on January 1 and July 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025. 

    “The settlement is not perfect,” said Andrew Landry, Deputy Public Advocate, and chief negotiator for the OPA, in the release “But it represents a significant reduction from CMP’s initial request, which called for increases of $47.7 million in 2023, $27.7 million in 2024, and $23.4 million in 2025.  CMP had also requested approval to defer the cost of certain investments for later recovery, but that would’ve contributed to even larger rate increases over the next two years.  These deferral requests were eliminated as part of the settlement agreement.”

    “To help ensure that such benefits are actually realized, the settlement agreement includes a provision that could impose financial penalties on the company if certain service quality levels are not achieved,” said Public Advocate William Harwood.

    The settling parties include the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA), AARP Maine, Competitive Energy Services, Efficiency Maine Trust, Walmart, Nicholas Alexander, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1837.  Collectively, these parties represent a broad spectrum of consumer interests.

    CMP’s initial request also had included significant increases related to charges imposed on it by its parent company and higher profit levels on capital investments, the release said.  In the settlement, no increases are provided for CMP’s overall cost of capital or for parent company charges.