Augusta, ME, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- June 19, 2013 - The Maine Public Utilities Commission has voted to audit Central Maine Power’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) program, citing concerns about the increased costs and reduced benefits of the program.

The order, which was voted last week, seeks to evaluate the reasonableness and prudency of CMP’s projections of the costs and savings on which approval of the AMI project in January 2010 were premised, its management of the AMI project, and implementation of supply side programs.

According to the order docket, in its 2010 application CMP projected that the AMI project would provide approximately $25 million in net savings to ratepayers over 20 years, not including the benefits from demand response and other supply side programs that would be available to customers once the project is in place.

However, in May 2013, the updated AMI revenue requirement had shifted from a net saving to a net cost, estimated by the PUC at approximately $80 million.

“While this calculation is only a preliminary estimate, this apparent shift from a net ratepayer benefit at the time AMI was authorized to a substantial net increase in costs now that the project has been completed and CMP is seeking to reflect AMI costs in rates, is of great concern to the Commission,” states the docket.

In addition the docket refers to concern about the lack of capability to deliver customer benefits on the electricity supply side, stating that these are not being realized, in part, because programs cannot currently be accommodated by CMP’s AMI and related systems.

In a filing submitted the previous week, CMP said it did not object to a Commission audit of the project in the expectation it will confirm the findings of ten previously conducted external and internal audits/reviews (with a further three audits due before year-end). These include four audits required by the Department of Energy, which consistently found that CMP had prudently managed the project and delivered a well-functioning AMI system within budget.

CMP also noted the system has the capability to deliver customer benefits including supply side benefits of demand response and TOU/dynamic pricing programs.

According to the PUC order, a competitive RFP process which will be initiated to select an auditor. The target date for completion of the audit is December 31, 2013.