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Ratepayers criticize CMP's requested rate increase during Lewiston hearing

Central Maine Power utility lines are seen, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Pownal, Maine. A tug-of-war over the future of Central Maine Power is continuing behind the scenes with a pair of proposed referendums next year.
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP file
Central Maine Power utility lines are seen, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Pownal, Maine. A tug-of-war over the future of Central Maine Power is continuing behind the scenes with a pair of proposed referendums next year.

A Public Utilities Commission hearing in Lewiston on Tuesday night gave the public an opportunity to weigh in on rate increases that Central Maine Power is requesting.

CMP is asking the PUC to approve increases on the delivery portion of its customers' bills. For the typical residential customer, the increase would be about $10 per month.

Steven Goulet, a retired electrical contractor from Greene, was among a half dozen people who criticized the proposal. He argued for taking the profit out of the system, and creating a publicly owned utility.

"I know a lot of people don't believe that Augusta can operate a utility," Goulet said. "But I think it would be in the better interest of the taxpayers that we would actually have a publicly owned utility, just for the fact that, we can't afford these rates anymore."

State Representative Margaret Craven, a Democrat from Lewiston, urged the PUC to make sure that any rate increase is reasonable.

"I do represent a lot of the downtown where we have people with low-income living, and it's going to be definitely a burden, for them," Craven said.

The PUC will hold further hearings on CMP's request Thursday in Hallowell, and Tuesday in Saco.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.