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December 8, 2017

CMP's $200M smart meter network 'flatlined' at Oct. 30 storm's peak

Courtesy / CMP
Courtesy / CMP
Central Maine Power acknowledged this week that its $200 million smart meter network stopped working at the peak of the Oct. 29-Nov. 1 storm that caused nearly 500,000 power outages throughout the state.

Central Maine Power's $200 million smart meter network stopped working at the peak of the Oct. 29-Nov. 1 storm that caused nearly 500,000 power outages throughout the state.

"About 12 o'clock, 11:57 a.m. [on Monday, Oct. 30], it just sort of flatlined," CMP spokesman John Carroll told Maine Public. "[I]t was pretty clear we weren't getting any more information from it."

The $200 million investment, funded roughly 50-50 by a federal grant and ratepayers, was touted seven years ago as a system that would improve CMP's detection of outages and facilitate its power restoration efforts.

But as the late-October windstorm swept through the state, it took down not only power lines but also the radio transmitters used by the smart-grid network as well as meters that lost power, resulting in a crash of the system.

Maine Public reported that by Nov. 5 CMP's Advanced Metering Infrastructure was 95% functional and is now operating at 100%.

Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, who co-chairs the Legislature's Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, said the collapse of the smart meter network would be part of a legislative inquiry he's spearheading into the storm response by both CMP and Emera Maine.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission also will open next week its own formal inquiry into the storm response by the utilities.

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