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State lawmakers say customers shouldn't have to pay for CMP investigation

Some say Central Maine Power customers shouldn't have to pay for an audit into record-high bills. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) – State lawmakers are taking action after an I-Team investigation into Central Maine Power bills.

Some say Central Maine Power customers shouldn't have to pay for an audit into record-high bills.

The Public Utilities Commission has ordered a forensic audit of CMP's metering and billing systems and as it stands, the cost of that can be passed off to ratepayers.

One lawmaker says that's crazy and needs to be changed.

In late February, the PUC launched an investigation into metering, billing and customer communications at CMP.

That, after the I-Team found hundreds of customers had large spikes in usage they couldn't explain.

Representative Seth Berry, who chairs the Energy and Utilities Legislative Committee, says it doesn't make sense for ratepayers to pay for an audit when this could all be stemming from a mistake on the company's part.

An amended bill presented Tuesday would shift some of the burden to utility companies in cases like this one.

“So we'll give the PUC the authority to investigate and to charge whatever portion they feel is appropriate to CMP and their shareholders rather than their customers,” Berry said.

The committee will hear testimony on this issue at a work session, likely this Thursday.

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