The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Jan. 14 opened a proceeding for a thorough scrutiny of Central Maine Power Company’s metering and billing issues, concluding a summary investigation that was initiated last March in response to hundreds of complaints from ratepayers over high bills. The agency will examine metering and billing issues affecting customers since October 2017 when the company’s new billing program, called SmartCare, went live. The move follows an audit, which ascribed the “high level of customer concern” to inadequate SmartCare development and transition to operations, as well as continuing shortage of experienced personnel after the program became operational.
The commission said that the results of the audit, released last month, has brought a clear understanding of the issues of metering, billing, and customer communication, which can now be addressed more fully. The audit identified gaps in testing and training that resulted in a large number of errors entailing manual corrections, and a shortage of customer service staff to address issues before the go-live date and expedite fixes after that.
The case will look into customer service and communication issues and incorporate that inquiry into the ongoing investigation into the company’s revenue requirements and rates.
Central Maine Power is a unit of Avangrid Networks Inc., which is owned by Iberdrola SA.