DEAR SUN SPOTS: Regarding the letter about the increase in electricity bills (Jan. 18 Sun Spots), household electric bills have two parts: supply and delivery. All customers have options when choosing their energy supplier and their energy supply rate, which is the cost of generating electricity.

Customers can choose the standard offer, a rate of 17.6 cents per kilowatt hour, which is administered by Maine’s Public Utility Commission each year through a competitive bidding process, or they can choose a third-party competitive energy supplier like Electricity Maine. Sometimes the third-party supplier will offer a lower rate than the Standard Offer, other times it will be higher.

If a customer chooses a third-party supplier rather than the standard offer, we urge them to read the fine print and understand the terms they are agreeing to. Know if you are signing a fixed rate or variable rate contract – meaning, is the price you agree to pay a set one, or will it change at some point in the future? If it changes, what will it change to and when will this occur? Also, review cancellation terms so you understand your options should you choose to change the supplier.

If a customer has an issue with their third-party supplier that they are unable to resolve, we recommend contacting the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s Consumer Assistance hotline at 1-800-452-4699, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Jon, no town

ANSWER: This information was sent in by Jon Breed, director of CMP’s corporate communications. I hope everyone who is a CMP customer will read it carefully and call the number above if they need assistance. If you need more information, read on:

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I wanted to reach out because I saw the Sun Spots column regarding someone’s high electric bill due to their supplier rate going up.

Advertisement

People in Maine have a choice of electricity suppliers. Delivery is done by CMP/Versant/etc. Our office, the Maine Office of the Public Advocate, represents ratepayers in any matter that is covered by the authority of the Public Utilities Commission, as well as proceedings before state and federal agencies and courts, so that they have affordable, high-quality utility services.

One of our services is educating the public about their supplier options. I would love to get in touch with the person who wrote in and let them know what their options are, which should hopefully reduce the financial burden on that family. Here’s our website with supplier rates, which we update every month (Electricity Maine is not on here because they are not currently taking new customers): https://www.maine.gov/meopa/electricity/electricity-supply.

If you could please send our website to the person who wrote in (and anyone else who has a similar issue, or any issues with utilities), I would really appreciate it. Please also feel welcome to share my contact information: Elizabeth M. Deprey, consumer adviser, Maine Office of the Public Advocate, 103 Water Street, 3rd floor, State House Station 112, Hallowell, ME 04347. The phone number is 624-3690 and email is [email protected]. – Elizabeth, no town

ANSWER: Thank you so much for this information, Elizabeth. The flood gates have been opened so be ready.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: