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October 16, 2018

CMP proposes using federal tax savings to keep its rates stable

Courtesy / CMP
Courtesy / CMP
Central Maine Power Co. President and CEO Doug Herling said Monday that the company is proposing to keep its distribution rates stable by using savings from changes in federal tax laws. The company filed its rate proposal with the Maine Public Utilities Commission on Monday.

About CMP

Central Maine Power Co., a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc., is Maine's largest electricity transmission and distribution utility. Established in 1899, CMP operates approximately 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines. It serves approximately 624,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine.

About AVANGRID

AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with $31 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. It has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving 3.2 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates 7.1 gigawatts of electricity capacity, primarily through wind power, with a presence in 22 states across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,500 people.

Central Maine Power, a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE: AGR), filed a rate proposal Monday with the Maine Public Utilities Commission that would use savings from changes in federal tax laws to keep its distribution prices stable.

Monday's submittal comes in response to an PUC order issued in July. The last time CMP's distribution rates were reset was in 2014.

"We understand customers' concerns about the cost of goods and services, particularly essential services like electricity, and for that very reason, we're asking to keep prices where they are now," Doug Herling, president and CEO of Central Maine Power, said in a news release. "The commission has established a 10-month process to review CMP's filing and we expect a decision in August of 2019."

Included in CMP's filing is a proposal to enhance resiliency of the energy grid by expanding management of trees and vegetation near transmission lines and pursuing additional reliability measures such as pole replacements and addition of tree wire in selected areas.

CMP said such investments are designed to strengthen its power grid so it can better stand up to severe weather.

The utility also proposes to add employees to its customer service department, and seeks approval of new rate designs that offer customers pricing options that can help them to manage their energy costs.

CMP said it plans to use savings from the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act, passed in December of 2017, to pay for the costs of resiliency programs and other investments outlined in its rate proposal.

Herling said CMP has a long history of keeping its prices stable.

"Since electric utility restructuring first took effect in March of 2000, the CMP portion of a typical monthly residential bill has increased by only about $2.50," he said. "Considering how much the cost of other goods and services has gone up over the past 18 years, we have an excellent track record of keeping prices stable for our customers, and we want that to continue."

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