Central Maine Power Co. and the state Office of the Public Advocate have agreed to a settlement that would reduce storm restoration costs charged to taxpayers by $850,000.

CMP had initially requested reimbursement of $117 million over two years for its efforts to restore power after several storms in 2022, plus more than $10 million in storm balance costs, according to the 13-page agreement .

Generally, state electric utilities are allowed to recover a portion of storm costs from ratepayers, provided the expenditures comply with a utility’s contingency plan and are deemed “prudentially incurred” by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

In the case of the 2022 storm expenses, the Office of the Public Advocate raised concerns about excessive costs from third-party contractors, CMP’s lack of evidence for some costs and the company’s inability to award contracts to most of its storm contractors. Central Maine Power has denied claims of overspending.

Maine’s utility regulator will vote Tuesday on the settlement agreement, which would be reflected in CMP’s price change beginning Jan. 1, 2025.

“If approved, this represents an important acknowledgment that some of the charges were both excessive and poorly documented,” said Maine attorney William Harwood. He also called on CMP to work with his office in the coming months to minimize outages from future storms.

“It is OPA’s belief that CMP must shift a substantial portion of its spending from recovery to prevention,” he said. “Currently, CMP is spending too much on post-storm cleanup and not enough pre-storm cleanup to protect its system from damage. We hope that this settlement will lead to the desired cost shift.”

He also said his agency will remain vigilant against any overspending by regulated utilities serving Maine ratepayers.

CMP ‘ready to keep promises’

In a statement, CMP said it hopes the settlement “will lead to productive action and long-term solutions to the damage to our state’s power grid caused by the stronger, more frequent storms Maine is experiencing.”

The company also noted that the settlement “is not an admission by CMP of any imprudent action in terms of its storm response, and there is no basis for the OPA’s claims that CMP overspent to leverage its customers after to recover from storms.” .”

“Despite the OPA’s surprising, disappointing and misleading statements on this important agreement, CMP stands ready to deliver on its commitments and work with that agency to reduce storm costs,” the company said.

Central Maine Power is the state’s largest electric utility, responsible for the transmission and distribution of power to 653,000 customers across an 11,000-square-mile service area in central and southern Maine. The company is headquartered in Augusta and is part of Avangrid Inc. (NYSE: AGR), based in Orange, Conn.