Utility watchdog to blame CMP errors on new billing system
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's consumer advocate is blaming Central Maine Power's new billing system for complaints about overcharging, refuting an audit that said the problems were due to cold...
Advocate recommends $1 million fine for electricity provider
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's advocate for utility consumers wants to lodge at least a $1 million fine against an electricity provider facing allegations over deceptive marketing.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine utility has agreed to give $50 million to energy assistance programs in Massachusetts as a condition of winning a bid to build a transmission line.
Central Maine Power will give money to programs that benefit low-income electric customers. The money will be paid out over 40 years as a condition of the bid CMP won to build a high-voltage transmission line from Quebec through Maine.
Public advocate skeptical of expensive plan to improve grid
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The agency that represents the interests of Maine utility customers is skeptical of a electric utility's proposal to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to "harden" the power grid in the face of increasingly intense storms.
Avangrid, the parent company of Central Maine Power, will have to justify such a large expenditure over 10 years and ensure that ratepayers won't bear the lion's share of the costs, public advocate Barry Hobbins said.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A phone service helping 48,000 low-income Mainers will be exempt from certain taxes and fees under a new law.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage signed Republican Sen. David Woodsome's bill into law on June 25. The law goes into effect in January.
The law aims to protect discounted and free phone services that are offered by landline and wireless carriers and subsidized by the federal government.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Public Utilities Commission says it won't elevate the investigation into Central Maine Power's problems with its billing system.
The Portland Press Herald reports the PUC disagreed with Public Advocate Barry Hobbins' call to pursue a "full investigation."
Maine public advocate says he’ll advocate for ’207′
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's public advocate says he's going to work to preserve Maine's 207 area code on a panel that makes recommendations on telephone numbers and area codes.
The Federal Trade Commission recently re-chartered the North American Numbering Council to ensure the efficient and impartial assignment of numbering resources.
Maine Public Advocate Barry Hobbins will represent the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates on the panel.
Congress urged to save heating aid from Trump cut
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — More than 30 attorneys general and state consumer advocate agencies are urging Congress to reject plans by President Donald Trump's administration to eliminate the federal heating assistance program.
The program distributes $3.4 billion to about 6 million low-income households.
The representatives say the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program already has been cut by a third since 2010, and it's only serving 19 percent of eligible households.
Maine’s new public advocate is on the job
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's new public advocate is on the job.
Barry Hobbins, who was nominated by Gov. Paul LePage, sailed through the energy committee and received Senate approval last month. He went to work on Monday.
Hobbins is a lawyer, top Democratic fundraiser and former legislative leader with 26 years of experience. He also has a history of ties with the wireless and telecommunications industry.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Lawmakers say they wouldn't have changed their vote for Maine's new public advocate even if they knew the details of his November drunken driving arrest.
Republican Sen. David Woodsome and other energy committee members told The Associated Press that they didn't know all the arrest details when they unanimously recommended Democrat Barry Hobbins.
But they said Hobbins received counseling and his arrest won't impact his ability to do his job.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage's pick for public advocate sailed through a key committee vote without any discussion of an arrest for drunken driving.
The Energy and Utilities Committee was aware of Barry Hobbins' arrest, but members didn't discuss it before unanimously approving his nomination Tuesday. Hobbins was sentenced to probation following his November arrest, according to court officials in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage's pick for chief advocate for utility customers has received a key legislative committee's unanimous support.
The Legislature's Energy, Utilities and Technology committee voted on Tuesday to recommend long-time Democrat Barry Hobbins, following supportive testimony from Republican and Democratic leaders.
Pick for public utility advocate has wireless industry ties
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The governor's pick for the public's chief advocate for utility customers has a history of ties with the wireless and telecommunications industry, from thousands of dollars in political contributions, to a stint lobbying for AT&T.
LePage nominates Hobbins to serve as public advocate
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — GOP Gov. Paul LePage has nominated Barry Hobbins to serve as public advocate, a position that represents the interests of Maine ratepayers in electricity and natural gas prices and other proceedings before the state Public Utilities Commission.
The position also supports residents on matters related to telecommunications, including accessibility to broadband internet.