As the newly named vice president of customer service for Central Maine Power, I have a message for our customers and other Maine stakeholders. We have heard your concerns and we understand and acknowledge that our service has not met all of your needs over the past 18 months. We have been putting the people, organization and tools in place to provide the level of service our customers deserve and to rebuild trust among people in Maine.
My position was created to advocate for CMP customers. Our company leaders have worked diligently to ensure that we have a fully staffed contact center with well-trained employees who are supported by quality information systems — all focused on meeting customer needs. I will support this team as they help our customers understand their bills, and use the account tools they have to understand and manage their own electricity use.
We have also added 10 new positions to the customer service team focused exclusively on managing and optimizing the SmartCare information system and billing. My position is designed so I can ensure that all the departments in our company are talking to each other and working together toward our common goal: improving the customer service experience from start to finish.
Having been with CMP for seven years, I have the opportunity to merge my technical knowledge of CMP’s smart meters and SmartCare system with my 22 years of experience in customer service and call center management.
CMP continues our active cooperation with the complex and ongoing Maine Public Utilities Commission investigations into our customer care system. Three audits have concluded that our system and bills are accurate. That said, I will be the first to acknowledge that CMP’s administration of the system, and management of the technology to better serve our customers, left a lot to be desired. We remain committed to the ongoing PUC investigation process as we work to improve our service.
We will also continue to work with the PUC and the Office of the Public Advocate to help those customers whose bills are in dispute and try to resolve every case.
CMP is a 120-year old Maine company. We know that building trust begins with responding to customer questions promptly, showing up for appointments on time and having answers. This was true back in the day when the company ran appliance showrooms in Maine downtowns; it was true during the ice storm of 1998; and it is true today as we look to offer more sustainable, reliable and innovative solutions to delivering energy in Maine.
Over the last century many things about our state’s energy systems have also changed, from how electricity is generated and delivered to the increasing use of renewables, to the tools customers now have in their own hands to understand and manage their electricity needs. What has not changed is CMP’s underlying commitment to Maine customers, and we pledge to leverage our technology and our experience to meet our customers’ needs.
Linda Ball is the vice president of customer service for Central Maine Power Co.