AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s supreme court has backed Central Maine Power’s decision to send disconnection warnings to customers last winter after a moratorium that prohibited sending shutoff warnings was lifted in November 2020.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission’s request to dismiss the complaint to reinstate the moratorium was upheld Tuesday by the justices.
Following the lifted ban, several customers requested that the freeze be extended through the winter but the commission denied the request, The Portland Press Herald reported.
The group filed a complaint against the utility provider alleging that the provider acted unreasonably when it sent notices to its customers during Maine’s coldest winter and amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
CMP said that the disconnection notices aligned with state regulations. Customers are also generally protected from power shutoffs from November through April because utilities have to get approval from the state to shut off power to homes during the heating season.
Members of the commission said that ending the freeze would help customers limit their utility debts and reduce the chance that utility companies would increase their rates to cover revenue lost to unpaid customer bills.
Catherine Hartnett, a spokesperson for CMP, said the company did not disconnect any customers between Nov. 15, 2020, and April 15, 2021.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs have not responded to requests from The Portland Press Herald for comment.