Rep. Seth Berry’s opinion piece about Central Maine Power Company was inaccurate and inflammatory. As the president and CEO of CMP, I assure you we will seek legal remedies.

Doug Herling, Central Maine Power president and chief executive officer. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

First and foremost, Rep. Berry, without any support, states that CMP has “knowingly, intentionally and repeatedly lied – to elected officials and to the public.” This is a baseless accusation that harms CMP, our employee families, and the elected officials and professional regulators that CMP works with every day. We have cooperated publicly and fully with the Maine PUC and have turned over all of the billing data to commission staff, the public advocate and independent auditors.  Currently, less than 0.2 percent of our customers dispute their bills and we are working diligently with them to bring their cases to resolution.

It is important to note, again, that both CMP and the PUC’s independent auditor, Liberty Consulting Group, found “(w)eather and rate changes, not meter or AMI system error, caused high usage registration and rates across the system as a whole.”   Should the current investigations uncover issues that resulted in overcharging customers, we will take immediate steps to make those customers whole.

Rep. Berry either misquotes or doesn’t understand the data from the PUC website, which he says shows our residential delivery rates doubled from 4.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to 8.6 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2018.  Not only does Berry have his facts wrong on the figures, he is making an apples-to-oranges comparison.  The fact is that since 2010, CMP’s distribution rates have increased at about the same rate as inflation.

Berry’s distortion of the truth continues. He erroneously asserts that for every $100 invested, CMP’s shareholders receive back over $1,000 in profits over a 20-year period. Using the correct calculation, CMP’s shareholders’ return on investment for a $100 investment would be less than $50 over 20 years.

CMP’s parent company, Avangrid, has made a huge investment in Maine projects and Maine people to benefit our customers. Before our merger with Iberdrola, we invested about $50 million annually; since then we are investing more than $300 million annually to improve service and reliability – a six-fold increase.

Finally, Rep. Berry asserts that a consumer-owned utility, like the one the Legislature is considering, would be a better alternative. We could not disagree more. This alternative would be more expensive, less reliable and less accountable. CMP is not for sale.

With all this said, we do agree with one of Representative Berry’s statements: The truth matters. He should heed his own advice and be truthful with Maine’s citizens.

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