In Rare Move, PUC Regulators Fault Utility for Billing Failures
Chairman Phil Bartlett, sworn in by Governor Janet Mills, in June of 2019 to the Public Utilities Commission along with the two serving commissioners sent a message to the public in a July Op Ed in the Maine Sunday Telegram. The three commissioners addressed tens of thousands of complaints on errors in bills with nearly 100,000 CMP customers receiving bills 50 percent (or more) above the same period the year prior under the new CMP billing system. The PUC commissioners wrote, “[w]hen an inaccurate monthly utility bill hits a family budget with unexpected and unaffordable costs, it becomes an emergency.”
New software and hardware that runs 21st century energy grids is a real challenge for utilities. The complexity of the grid is increasing far beyond smart meters and data exchange protocols and an information monopoly can develop in addition to the central-old utility economic monopoly. With more than a dozen new energy bills passed in 2019, BSSN is engaged in this complexity and protecting customer and energy interests in the best and worst of circumstances.