Susan and David Ahl installed solar panels at the South Berwick farm they bought in 2015 in hopes of efficiently and affordably powering the century-old barns they planned to turn into a community learning and conference center.

Unfortunately it didn’t work out like that. Instead, their metered electricity usage and resulting bills swing wildly from month to month, climbing as high as $641 in January 2018 and then dropping as low as $13 in June 2018.

The Ahls insist they have embraced energy-efficient practices since they bought the farm, and throughout the renovation required to launch their flexible classroom space, Mainspring Center. That is why they decided to rely on solar power, after all.

When they called to complain, CMP suggested that the problem might lie with their solar panels, so the Ahls called the solar company back in to check their work, worried ReVision Energy had vastly oversold its product. But ReVision found nothing unusual – except the unpredictable meter readings.

“My faith in CMP and (state regulators) is little,” Susan said in her January complaint to the Maine Public Utilities Commission. “Whose pockets are being lined? Follow that and you’ll find your answers. That or the smart meters aren’t so smart.”

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