We built a new home near the coast here in Biddeford in 1997. That fall, we had a frightening experience. One morning, ceiling fans started whirring, TVs started playing and we smelled burning wires. Our electrician told us to call Central Maine Power.

When they arrived, they told us the transformer had failed and we had an “open neutral” forcing a power surge into our home.  The damages included appliances, light fixtures and scorched carpets. The CMP office assured us all damages, amounting to over $10,000, would be covered, to get the repairs and/or replacements. They kept our damage account open for 12 months to cover latent damage.

A year later, the same problem occurred and we had to go through the same routine, although the damages were less. I met with CMP officials and we discussed the recurring problem. It seems this time, the work order to repair the transformer from the year earlier had been lost and the repairs never were completed! Once again, we were assured our damages would be covered.

Not feeling comfortable with CMP, we filed a complaint with the Public Utilities Commission. A CMP engineer called us and, off the record, told us that certain metal transformer parts were susceptible to salt air corrosion and this failure was fairly common along the coast, but CMP found it cheaper to pay claims than replace the faulty parts.

Do I trust CMP?  You tell me.

Ken Buechs

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: