The Buckfield Fire and Rescue building.

BUCKFIELD — A vice president for Central Maine Power disputed a report that a worker went to the Buckfield Fire and Rescue building last month to shut off the power for a reported nonpayment.

The person was there to engage the town in conversation and to find a way to settle the situation, Linda Ball, vice president for Consumer Services, said in a phone conversation Friday.

She said she regretted the misunderstanding, but said her field agents would never shut power off on a public safety building like a fire station. Sending the person to Buckfield is how CMP conducts “customer service” if the company cannot reach the individual or town by mail or phone.

“We’re going to be available to help our customers,” Ball said. “If the decision is about public safety, our staff are instructed to walk away.”

According to Buckfield interim Town Manager Bradley Plante, a CMP worker arrived June 30 to shut off the power for nonpayment of its bill. The check for payment, however had been mailed June 9 for a bill due June 14, Plante said.

Town officials convinced CMP to hold off until 4 p.m. so it could investigate the matter. Plante said CMP was claiming that it had never received the check. Also, no disconnect notice was ever sent to the town, he said, which Ball disputes.

To avoid disconnection, Buckfield was forced to make an electronic payment, Plante said.

The following day, the town received a letter from CMP with a copy of the check enclosed, the same one CMP said it never received, Plante said. The check was returned because it did not contain the account number.

Ball said the company may have to make some changes and start working more with towns on how to pay its bills, especially post pandemic when Town Offices are not open full time.

During Thursday night’s Select Board meeting, Plante provided more detail about the issue, saying he had talked with Ball about the situation.

“She admitted to me that some of their folks need more training,” Plante said.

Plante added that CMP has a code that signifies buildings that should not have power turned off, but the Buckfield fire station was not tagged in such a matter. He said Ball corrected that omission.

“They need to understand that the fire department does not pay bills,” Plante said. “It’s the Town Office that they need to go to.”

While not using the word training, Ball did say that reminders may be sent out to its workers.

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