AUGUSTA, Maine - Central Maine Power Company, together with Barry Hobbins, Public Advocate, on behalf of the Office of the Public Advocate, will submit a request to the Maine Public Utilities Commission to extend the protections afforded residential customers during the winter disconnection period from April 15 to May 15, in recognition of the potential economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CMP is also implementing necessary business precautions and contingency plans to support employees' first responder roles.
"In this unique time of uncertainty over the impacts of COVID-19, we want to reassure customers that we would like to work with them if they are challenged to pay their bills, and would like to extend the period in which disconnections are prohibited until Maine has a better understanding of how people are dealing with the consequences of the pandemic," said David Flanagan, Executive Board Chairman of CMP.
CMP and the OPA began discussing the proposal Friday and have worked this weekend to prepare the request, which will be filed with the MPUC on Monday.
CMP encourages any customer who is challenged to pay their electric bills to call the company to discuss possible sources of assistance and individual payment arrangements.
CMP is committed to providing reliable service while keeping employees and customers safe and is implementing appropriate health and safety protocols. In addition to ensuring that all employees are practicing hygiene and social distancing recommendations from national and state public health officials, the company has restricted visitors from entering facilities, has provided support needed to enable some office staff to work from home, and can provide in-house accommodations such as food and cots so that employees who perform critical functions can remain at work if necessary. The company will continue to implement contingency measures as required to ensure employee and customer safety and service reliability.
"CMP employees are first responders. We take that responsibility very seriously and practice these emergency plans regularly so that we can avoid service interruptions and respond quickly and safely when they do occur," Flanagan said.