The Maine Public Utilities Commission will decide this week whether to take on a broad investigation into issues with Central Maine Power’s management by its owner Avangrid. 

The PUC first began considering this investigation last fall, in the wake of an independent audit of customer service and billing issues at CMP that led to a fine of nearly $10 million in 2020. 

The audit suggested that CMP’s problems were systemic, not isolated, calling into question the utility’s oversight by Connecticut-based Avangrid and its majority owner Iberdrola of Spain. 

In an improvement plan the PUC requested late last year, CMP promised to add Maine executives and implement other fixes for the concerns raised in the audit. The utility said it did not think a larger investigation was necessary.

The Office of the Public Advocate filed comments saying CMP’s proposals were promising and the PUC should accept most of them while requiring more monitoring going forward.

At its deliberations Thursday, the PUC will consider a draft notice of investigation into the utility’s management issues. This next step would involve more exhaustive adjudication and could lead to what commissioners have called “appropriate remedies.” 

The PUC’s Thursday agenda also now includes consideration of a one-time bill credit for CMP and Versant Power customers to offset rising winter energy costs. Comments on that plan, filed last week, are due Tuesday. The $90 credits, if approved, are supposed to go out by March 30.