MPUC: Disconnect information from CMP is 'inaccurate' and 'potentially misleading'

Disconnect notice sent to a CMP customer and provided to CBS 13 I-Team

STATEWIDE (WGME) -- With another storm on the way, dozens of customers of Central Maine Power are contacting the I-Team concerned about disconnect notices they're getting from the company.

They're being sent while state regulators investigate record-high bills.

Today we discovered a discrepancy between notices that customers are getting and state rules regarding disconnection.

We asked the Maine Public Utilities Commission about it and we were told the information from CMP is inaccurate and potentially misleading.

One notice a CMP customer sent the I-Team says "if you fail to contact us, we can disconnect your electric service during the winter months without the approval of the Maine Public Utilities Commission."

The winter disconnection section of CMP's website says "approval of the Consumer Assistance and Safety Division of the Maine Public Utilities Commission is not required."

MPUC tells the I-Team that's not accurate.

During the winter period, Commission rules prohibit an electric utility from disconnecting a residential customer for non-payment under any circumstances without first receiving permission from the Commission’s Consumer Assistance and Safety Division.

State Rep. Owen Casas (I-Rockport) said it's important for Mainers to know their rights while disconnect notices are being sent.

"The general public is not overly aware of that. So pushing that information out so people have these assurances and peace of mind is a necessary thing for us to do at this time," Casas said.

MPUC said while customers should pay their utility bills by their due date or work out a reasonable payment arrangement, they won't approve disconnect requests during the winter period of November 15 to April 15 or during a billing dispute.

"The Commission has notified CMP that it has inaccurate and potentially misleading information regarding disconnection. The Commission is requiring CMP to correct this information," according to a statement MPUC sent to the I-Team.

CMP did not respond to a request for a comment.

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