Central Maine Power Company (CMP) delivers more than 9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity yearly to 600,000 retail electric customers in central and southern Maine. CMP's 11,000-square-mile service area is larger than the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined. It contains about 78 percent of Maine's population and the major commercial, manufacturing, and recreational areas of the State. A public utility chartered, managed, and regulated in Maine, CMP is a member of the Energy East family of companies. CMP's parent company, CMP Group, completed a shareholder- and regulator-approved merger with Energy East in August 2000. CMP traces its origins to November 7, 1899. On that date the founding partners, attorney Harvey Eaton and engineer Walter Wyman, bought a hydroelectric generator providing street lighting and service to about 100 customers in the village of Oakland, Maine. They soon began a long program of developing new hydro sites, expanding their service area through interconnection and acquisitions, and lowering prices as unit costs fell. They began using the name Central Maine Power in 1910. In 1999, CMP delivered more than 9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to over 540,000 Maine homes, businesses, schools, churches, and other users. As of December 31, 2003, CMP's delivery system comprised 2,288 miles of overhead transmission lines, 19,754 pole-miles of distribution line, and 155 miles of underground or submarine cable. CMP has high-voltage connections with other electric systems at the New Hampshire and New Brunswick borders. Facilities also include 207 substations above 10 million Volt-Amperes capacity for routing energy and regulating voltage, service centers, garages, offices, and other property. Peak power demand on the CMP system in 2003 was 1,587 megawatts. CMP's service-area operating revenues were $438 million in 2003. The utility employs an estimated 1,200 people. Over its first 99 years of operation, CMP built up an extensive generation system of hydroelectric, oil-fired, nuclear, and biomass generation, plus State-mandated contracts for substantial amounts of non-utility energy. On April 7, 1999, CMP effectively exited the generation business by closing the sale of 1,185 megawatts of non-nuclear generating capacity to FPL Energy, a unit of Florida's FPL Group. The sale was required by a Maine law signed May 29, 1997, that requires investor-owned electric utilities to sell their generating assets as a step toward retail-customer choice of electric supplier effective March 1, 2000. Besides selling its own generating plants, CMP has auctioned off the energy stream from its non-utility power contracts, and has sold its small interests in two operating nuclear-power stations in Vermont and Connecticut. As of March 1, 2002, nearly all CMP residential and small-business (under 20 kilowatts' peak demand) customers, more than 90 percent of all accounts, began receiving Standard Offer energy service from Constellation Power Source Maine, LLC, an independent energy provider selected by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Constellation committed to a three-year energy price of 4.95 cents per kilowatt-hour for those customers; CMP bills include that price plus its own authorized charges for operating and maintaining the delivery system. With customer choice still in its early stages, most competitive providers have not been signing up small customers. CMP's legal obligation to arrange power supply for its customers ended on March 1, 2000. The Company continues to be responsible for operating and maintaining the transmission-and-distribution system, including functions like service connections, outage restoration, and system improvements and upgrades as required. Since January 1, 1995, CMP has operated under a PUC-approved system of indexed price caps intended to hold price increases below the rate of inflation. Under this Alternative Rate Plan, or ARP, allowable price changes are keyed to the prior-year inflation rate minus an offset for productivity, plus or minus PUC-determined adjustments for performance targets, earnings sharing, or extraordinary events. athis price-cap plan kept adjustments well below the previous year's inflation from 1995 through 1999. This original ARP expired on Dec. 31, 1999. CMP prices dropped 10 percent overall on March 1, 2000, as value created in CMP's state-mandated sale of power plants was used to erase some uncollected costs from the books. In September 2000, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a negotiated agreement as a successor to the original ARP. The ARP 2000 plan has kept changes in CMP's Maine-regulated delivery prices below the rate of inflation through the year 2007. In fact, since the beginning of customer choice on March 1, 2000, CMP delivery prices have decreased by about 30 percent.
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