Friday, 20 April 2018 09:20

CMP customers still in limbo after legislature adjourns Featured

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AUGUSTA (WGME) - Central Maine Power customers are on the hook for the state's investigation into record-high bills.

Lawmakers adjourned without taking up legislation that could shift some of the cost to the company.


"It's ridiculous!" Richard Buxton is among the thousands of Central Maine Power customers who have watched their bills get bigger, with no explanation. "When they double and triple your bill, the budget goes out the window - cause you have to pay it - where are you gonna cut back? Food?" he stated.


His bills show an increase in usage, this March was more than double compared to the same month last year. Buxton asked, "from what? You know, we don't have a huge house here!"


The Public Utilities Commission launched an investigation in February. But answers come at a cost to ratepayers like Buxton.


Maine law says customers have to pay for a forensic audit that's part of the state's investigation.


Some legislators, like Representative Seth Berry, have been working to pass LD 1729, which would allow some of the cost to be assigned to the company if it's found to be at fault. Representative Berry stated, "I think it's really unfortunate that this simple bill that CMP customers really want to see passed is being held hostage and may die because of the adjournment last night."


On Wednesday, lawmakers failed to get a two-thirds majority vote needed to extend the legislative session but did vote to keep bills alive that hadn't been dealt with.


Finger pointing and blame followed on Thursday.


Democrats said the bills can be considered on veto day, but Republicans argue that can only happen if a special session is called. Leaving this legislation in limbo.


Buxton said lawmakers need to put politics aside and think of their constituents. People like him and his wife who can do nothing but worry about their next bill. He concluded, "I don't even know what it's gonna be. It's scary."


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