141 Jobs at CMP on the Line at PUC Hearing

January 15, 2010 - The Maine Public Utilities Commission is set to hold a crucial public hearing on Wednesday, January 20 at 5:30 p.m. that may well determine the fate of 141 workers at Central Maine Power Company and have an impact of CMP’s customers for years to come.

Union members and their allies are being encouraged to turnout to show support for union workers at Central Maine Power. The hearing will be held at the PUC offices at 101 Second St., Hallowell, Maine.

The PUC appears ready to approve an Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) System - built with $96 million in federal stimulus funds - that will eliminate 141 jobs at CMP. Many of these workers have jobs as meter readers and most are members of IBEW Local 1837.

While the installation of so-called “smart meters” may have some benefits for CMP ratepayers, other services could be adversely impacted and some of the future costs of the AMI System are unknown. One thing is clear: these workers threatened with layoffs provide important services and tremendous value to CMP customers and their loss could impact electric service and reliability in numerous ways.

Meter readers provide CMP customers with important monthly service and safety checks. After a major storm, meter readers and service journey workers help to keep the public safe and provide invaluable aid to lineworkers as they race to restore electrical service to blacked-out homes and businesses. If the PUC approves the AMI, these workers will no longer be available to do these jobs.

On Wednesday, January 13, the Portland Press Herald published a “Maine Voices” column by IBEW's Bill Dunn that fully details the union’s side of the story to the readers of Maine’s largest newspaper. If you missed it, you can read the Op-Ed online.

The PUC hearing on Wednesday, January 20 at 5:30 p.m. in Hallowell is an opportunity for Mainers to let the PUC know that the AMI System proposed by CMP is something that Maine workers and CMP ratepayers just can’t afford. IBEW Local 1837 is hoping for a good turnout to help the PUC – and Maine’s media – get the message that now is the wrong time to put 141 dedicated CMP workers on the unemployment lines.  The union is encouraging supporters to attend this important public hearing.