A trio of law firms filed a lawsuit Wednesday, taking aim at Central Maine Power and its treatment of customers following a historic power outage last fall.

Saying the suit has the potential to include 300,000 plaintiffs, representatives of the law firms filed their complaint alleging fraud for the way CMP treated its customers, thousands of whom saw excessively high power bills through the early winter months.

The suit filed in Cumberland County Superior Court, claims that CMP workers were instructed to tell customers that the high bills were the result of customer usage patterns, like playing a lot of video games, or a cold snap, rather than acknowledge that their billing and metering systems failed.

CMP has vehemently denied the charges.

The company is under scrutiny by state regulators and an independent auditor for its performance following an October storm that left 450,000 customers without power, many of whom for more than a week.

A previous suit, also filed by Lipman & Katz of Augusta, Trafton Matzen of Auburn and Napoli & Shkolnik of New York, was withdrawn and its charge of overbilling was added to the pending suit.

This story will be updated.

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