NEWS RELEASE: 07/29/14
Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director
(207) 400-1026/ email@example.com
Jane Margesson, AARP Maine Communications Director
(207) 229-5628/ firstname.lastname@example.org
AARP Maine Voices Mixed Reaction to PUC’s Decision on Central Maine Power’s Rate Increase
Calls the Negotiated Proposal Only a Small Win for CMP’s 500,000 Customers
PORTLAND: AARP Maine voiced a mixed reaction today following the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) announcement of its final decision regarding a steep rate increase proposed earlier this year by Central Maine Power (CMP).
“CMP’s original $41 million rate hike proposal was too much and the PUC lowered it to $24 million,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “AARP believes that Mainers should only pay what is fair and reasonable for their utilities – not a dime more. While we see the PUC’s decision as a small win for CMP’s 500,000 customers, we remain very concerned about the negative impact CMP’s negotiated rate increase will have on Maine’s vulnerable populations, even at the lower amount.”
To get the extra money, CMP’s proposed changes to different line items on customers’ bills such as the fixed monthly charge which over time will still increase. The CMP proposal also includes:
• A rise in base rates for storm cost recovery while retaining the ability to go back to the PUC for even more in storm cost funding.
• A move to take millions of dollars from a depreciation account that is due to be returned to CMP customers, then use that money to make it seem like bills remain stable, at least at first.
AARP Maine testified at both public hearings on the matter which were held in April in Hallowell and Portland. As part of their testimony, AARP noted that the hearings were all but impossible for many CMP customers to attend, particularly those in rural areas, due to the hearing locations and evening time-slot. In addition to their written testimony, AARP Maine submitted statements from over 390 customers who signed an online petition concerning CMP’s proposal.
“AARP Maine is pleased the efforts of our volunteers and members mitigated the overall impact to Maine consumers by $17 million dollars,” said Parham. “Many older residents, a third of whom rely solely on Social Security for their income, already have to make tough choices between heating their homes, putting food on the table, and purchasing needed medications. They should not be asked to fund the excessive profits or rate increases that CMP requested and we are pleased that the PUC has denied, at least in part, the proposal.”
For more about AARP Maine’s work on behalf of Mainers 50+ and their families, call 1-866-554-5380 or go to our website at www.aarp.org/me
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.