People posing as Central Maine Power Co. employees have been operating a door-to-door scam to sign up new customers for Electricity Maine, according to an affidavit filed recently in federal court.

The affidavit was added to a 2016 lawsuit filed by energy consumers against Electricity Maine, a power supplier. CMP is a power distribution company.

The plaintiffs claim Electricity Maine has overcharged customers, first through a fraudulent bait-and-switch scheme that eventually charged higher rates, and more recently through the alleged door-to-door scam, according to an amended court complaint.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, the affidavit about the door-to-door scam contains detailed allegations by several residents of Bath and Norway, and by police who received complaints in Norway, Paris and wider Oxford County.

The alleged scam incidents in Bath occurred last November and December, while the incidents in Oxford County occurred in January and April of this year, according to the May 31 sworn affidavit of David Loranger, a private investigator.

Residents told Loranger they were visited by men wearing CMP clothing who claimed to be auditors for or otherwise employees of CMP. The men told the residents they were being overcharged – sometimes asking to see their CMP bills – then tried to get them to sign up with Electricity Maine for a promised lower rate, Loranger testified.

Some agreed to switch. Others didn’t. One Bath woman said she knew Electricity Maine wasn’t associated with CMP because she had previously signed up with Electricity Maine.

“She concluded that the man in her home claiming to be an auditor for CMP was actually working for Electricity Maine,” Loranger testified. “She told me she was angry and immediately told the purported auditor to leave her home, which he did.”

Electricity Maine was founded in 2011 by Emile Clavet of Harpswell and Kevin Dean of Windham, longtime Lewiston-Auburn business associates who are now battling each other in court.

The 2016 lawsuit by consumers is filed against Clavet and Dean, Provider Power LLC, and Spark Holdco LLC, a Delaware-registered company that purchased Electricity Maine in May 2016.

Clavet and Dean retain controlling interests in Electricity Maine and Houston-based Spark owns electricity supply companies in several other states, according to the lawsuit.

The owners couldn’t be reached for comment Saturday. A Spark representative has said previously that the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Utility companies warn against providing billing information to anyone going door-to-door. They recommend calling to confirm the identity of employees or reporting suspected scammers to police.

A spokeswoman for CMP could not be reached immediately for comment Saturday night.

This story has been corrected to note the nature of CMP’s business.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KelleyBouchard

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