Everyone knows that Maine winters can be brutal. In our rural state, some residents may become isolated and for those who are low income, the need for reliable and affordable electricity is imperative.
Central Maine Power (CMP) is the largest electricity provider in the state. The utility giant serves 600,000 electricity customers in central and southern Maine which is equal to approximately 78 percent of Maine residents.
This week, we learned that for CMP customers, electricity rates will increase 6.8 percent in 2019.
CMP customers' bills currently average about $88 per month, which will go up to about $94 per month under the new rates. That may not sound like a steep increase, but when you are low-income, perhaps living on nothing but Social Security as we know 1/3 of Mainers 65+ do, that extra cost is going to be tough to absorb.
This rate increase is coming at a time when CMP has yet to distribute the savings it received from the 2017 Federal Tax Act directly to customers. This should have happened at the beginning of 2018. Instead, the company wants to hold on to that money, saying it will offset an additional proposed customer rate increase yet to be determined. How can CMP be asking for even more?
Access to electricity should be fair, affordable, accurate and transparent. The experiences that CMP customers have weathered in 2018 and will continue to face in 2019 are anything but that.
CMP needs to do better for their customers and we urge all Mainers who purchase their electricity through CMP to make their voices heard. Raise your voice before they raise your rates.
AARP Maine Advocacy Volunteer