Heavy machinery is used to cut trees to widen an existing Central Maine Power power line corridor to make way for new utility poles, April 26, 2021, near Bingham, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine utility regulators will investigate allegations raised in a lawsuit against the parent company of Central Maine Power.

The investigation by the Maine Public Utilities Commission will focus on whether Avangrid’s expenditures are being passed on to CMP customers, or could be in the future.

The lawsuit brought by a cybersecurity expert late last month accused Avangrid Networks Inc. and Avangrid Inc. of rigging bids, racketeering and buying unnecessary equipment so it could charge higher electricity rates and increase its profits. Avangrid denied the allegations, described the plaintiff as a “disgruntled employee” and filed a defamation lawsuit.

The announcement by the PUC on Monday, first reported by the Portland Press Herald, comes after a bipartisan group of legislators called on the PUC to launch an immediate investigation.

The developments come after permits were suspended for CMP’s $1 billion power line in western Maine and some legislators seek to replace the privately owned company with a consumer-owned utility.