January 20, 2018
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Maine regulators to investigate utilities’ response to October storm

By Lori Valigra
Updated:
Robert F. Bukaty | AP | BDN
Robert F. Bukaty | AP | BDN
A motorist turns around after finding downed trees blocking Flying Point Road in Freeport, during the October wind storm that caused widespread power outages.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted Tuesday morning to investigate the October storm response by Central Maine Power and Emera Maine.

“Based on the extent and duration of outages I think it’s appropriate to open this investigation to gather information on the transmission and distribution of the utilities’ preparedness and response,” said PUC Chairman Mark Vannoy. “It’s appropriate to review current practices to see if changes need to be made to prepare for future storms.”

He said about 404,000 CMP customers and 90,000 Emera customers lost power, some for more than a week and surpassing the 1998 ice storm.

The motion to notify the utilities of the investigation was approved unanimously by Vannoy and Commissioners Dr. R. Bruce Williamson and Randall P. Davis. Davis recently filled an empty seat at the PUC.

Vannoy said the PUC had authority to investigate any matter related to public utilities and to assure safe, responsible and adequate service at reasonable rates.

CMP and Emera have 30 days from Tuesday to report their responses to the storm, what they learned and what they might change.

The Legislature’s energy and utilities committee also said earlier it wants to hear from the two utilities.

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