CMP smart meter program coming, Auto vandalism afoot

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DIXFIELD — Local Memorial Day ceremonies will be held Monday, May 30, selectmen announced at their meeting Monday night at the Town Hall.

Organized run by Dixfield American Legion Post 100, the ceremonies will begin at Canton’s Riverside Cemetery at 8:30 a.m., followed by a ceremony at the Dixfield Cemetery at 9 a.m. and a wreath ceremony on the Dixfield-Peru bridge at 9:30 a.m.

Participating will be the Dirigo High School Band, and the American Legion honor guard and members. State Rep. Sheryl Briggs, D-Mexico, will give the Memorial Day address.

In other business at the meeting Monday, Central Maine Power Co. service representative Tasha Raymond outlined the plan to install 1,347 Smart Meters in Dixfield later this year.

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The program is being  pushed hard by electric utilities throughout the country because of the technological benefits, she said.

“There are many benefits to Smart Meters, including faster restoration of power after an outage, the customer being more able to immediately monitor electrical usage through home computer Internet portals, the means to diagnose problems more accurately and more quickly from afar,  and the reduction in Maine of nearly two million miles of service driving to households,” Raymond said.

“The Public Utilities Commission last Tuesday ruled that every customer that has been designated to get a Smart Meter will be sent by mail a notifiaction of installation of the Smart Meter,” she said. “The customer will have 30 days to opt out of the Smart Meter, should they choose.”

“The opt-out initial charge will be $40, with a subsequent $12 monthly fee thereafter,” she said.

The removal of the old meters and the replacement of the Smart Meters will be done at CMP expense, Raymond said. “We have a $192,000 federal grant for the Smart Meter program.”

Police Chief Richard Pickett reported residents need to be vigilant and careful given the recent spate of auto vandalism in Dixfield. Anyone with knowledge of the crimes is encouraged to contact the Dixfield Police Department.

Pickett and the department won unanimous approval from selectmen to apply for a COPS grant from the state. If awarded, the money would pay for a fifth officer for five years at the cost of one year’s pay.

“A fifth officer will allow me and the department to do things we have wanted to do for years but have been unable to do so,” Pickett said.

“A fifth officer would greatly help our department’s criminal investigation, follow-up interviews, and put an officer in the town’s schools for several hours a week. I think it is a win-win situation,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has offered to write a letter in support of the application for the grant,” Pickett told the board.

In other business, it was announced that the Webb River Bridge construction project has been delayed due to issues with the temporary replacement bridge. Residents are urged to follow the progress of the bridge’s construction on the town’s website.

The board unanimously approved the special amusement permits to Dixfield Legion Post 100.

Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the second request by the town workers union for summer hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 7 to 11 a.m. Friday from June 6 to Oct. 10.

The union’s first request of 6 a.m to 4 p.m. was rejected due to early morning noise concerns.

Selectmen urged the residents to attend the annual town meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at Dirigo High School.

The next board meeting will be Monday, June 13, at 5 p.m. at the Town Office.

                              dfayen@sunjournal.com

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