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June 3, 2013

PUC staff suggests CMP smart meter audit

Staff of the Maine Public Utilities Commission is recommending that commissioners conduct an audit of Central Maine Power Co.'s smart meter program out of concern that it will not reduce electricity costs as projected.

In a draft order filed May 31, PUC staff wrote that CMP in 2010 projected the smart meter program would net $25 million in savings over 20 years. The company's latest revision puts the project at $99 million in net costs.

Harry Lanphear, the PUC's administrative director, told MBPN that a third-party audit would look into CMP's management of the program to uncover what has driven that change in cost estimates for the smart meter program.

CMP spokesman John Carroll told MPBN that the company is not surprised by the recommendation as the preliminary cost-benefit analysis was done based on a 20-year forecast before the first smart meter was installed.

As the company recently requested a rate increase of nearly $2 a month to its average home bill, Maine Public Advocate Dick Davies told MPBN that, should the investigation reveal mismanagement of the program, his office will argue the cost should be borne by the company's shareholders, not ratepayers.

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