The Maine Public Utilitites Commission will consider launching an investigation into alleged overbilling of customers by Central Maine Power Co. at a meeting Tuesday.

PUC Administrative Director Harry Lanphear said an item has been added to the commission’s agenda for deliberations, worded as “Commission initiated investigation into metering, billing and customer communications pertaining to Central Maine Power Company.”

Kiera Reardon, consumer adviser with the Maine Public Advocate’s Office, told the Portland Press Herald in early February that she had fielded more than a dozen complaints about inexplicably high CMP bills in the preceding week, on top of others the office received after consumers got their bills in January.

Some of the increases, Reardon said, were because of the sharp cold snap in late December and early January that caused consumers to use much more energy, especially for heating systems.

Another reason, she said, is that rates under the “standard offer,” the default price of electricity for people who don’t want to pick their own supplier, went up Jan. 1. The increase – negotiated last year – was 18 percent, to 7.921 cents per kilowatt hour, for customers whose electricity is delivered by CMP.

However, Reardon said, some customers complained that their bills jumped beyond what could easily be explained by those two factors.

CMP officials have said they were unable to find any billing amounts that could not be explained by the higher standard rate and extreme cold.

The PUC’s deliberative session is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at its offices at 101 Second St. in Hallowell. A live audio stream of the meeting also will be available via the PUC website.

Lanphear said it isn’t guaranteed that the commission will decide to launch an investigation.

“What they will actually do on Tuesday, I would never want to speculate,” he said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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