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March 20, 2020

CMP, Emera stepping up measures to keep customers' power on during crisis

Courtesy / CMP Central Maine Power Co. faces concerns about management structure and customer service.

Central Maine Power Co. and Emera Maine are taking steps to extend customer protections and prevent service interruptions during the COVID-19 crisis.

CMP said yesterday it is suspending late payment and customer reconnection charges for all customers and is seeking to extend protections to customers participating in some payment plans.  

The company is also deploying line workers to patrol circuits that serve hospitals and other critical care facilities, in order to help prevent any service interruptions.

“We are focused on ensuring continuity of the essential service we provide; specifically, we are working to prevent any disruption in service to critical facilities like hospitals, urgent care offices, and even food distribution centers,” David Flanagan, executive board chairman of CMP, said in a news release.

The company filed a request with the Maine Public Utilities Commission to address the temporary payment plan adjustments. It also advised the commission that it would suspend late payment charges and reconnection charges for the rest of a moratorium period announced by the commission.

On Monday, the commission declared the moratorium, which directed all electric transmission and distribution utilities, natural gas utilities, water utilities and telephone providers of last resort service not engage in any disconnection activity until further notice. 

"No one will lose utility service or be threatened with disconnection during this civil emergency," the commission’s chairman, Philip Bartlett, said in the news release. "This applies equally to residential and business customers and is effective immediately."

Emera Maine announced March 16 it is suspending all disconnections of residential and commercial service for nonpayment, has stopped applying late fees to overdue accounts and is setting up payment plans with customers to ensure their electricity bills are manageable, particularly those who have a health concern or loss of income. 

Earlier this week, the Public Utilities Commission approved the $1.3 billion acquisition of Emera Maine, the state’s second-largest electric utility, by energy company ENMAX Corp., of Calgary, Alberta.

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