Central Maine Power Co. customers will see an average monthly increase of $2.50 on their electric bills starting in July to cover the cost of repairs from two back-to-back storms in October and November 2019.

CMP opted to spread the price increase over three years to reduce the severity of the changes to customer bills, the company said Thursday in a news release.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission authorized an annual adjustment of electric delivery prices for all CMP customers in Maine effective July 1, it said. When all components of the annual price adjustment are combined, the resulting change will add roughly $2.50 to the average residential customer’s monthly bill, according to CMP.

“This annual adjustment primarily reflects unavoidable costs incurred in restoring power after two major back-to-back storms in October and November 2019, which resulted in 230,000 and 180,000 outages respectively,” said David Flanagan, executive chairman of CMP, in the release. “We understand it is our responsibility to balance our commitment to rapid and efficient storm response with the costs incurred to manage storm recovery promptly. In this extraordinary year, because of the impact on Maine people by the (COVID-19) pandemic, we urged the PUC to reduce the monthly costs by spreading them out over three years instead of the usual one, and to defer additional storm cost funding.”

Flanagan said CMP is committed to continuing to find ways to reduce cost and increase efficiencies, while also continuing to improve customer service and system reliability.

The adjusted delivery rates comprise five components: distribution costs, stranded costs, Efficiency Maine Trust assessments, low-income program assessments and transmission costs, each of which are reviewed and adjusted through the annual rate adjustment process, CMP said. The impact for residential customers is an increase of about 2.8 percent of the total billed amount, including energy supply.

In March, CMP chose to suspend certain fees, enforcement of payment plan requirements and account disconnections for nonpayment – which was subsequently mandated by the PUC for all utilities – in response to the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impacts. CMP said it encourages customers to contact its customer care center to establish payment plans to manage their utility bills, or to inquire about assistance programs that may be available.

Last month, CMP announced a new customer service guarantee emphasizing the accuracy and timeliness of its customer billing. The company will pay customers $25 if the amount due on a bill is inaccurate or if the bill is late. The guarantee also applies to keeping service appointments and new service connections.

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