Central Maine Power extended condolences to the family of iconic Maine business and philanthropy leader, David T. Flanagan, upon his death Oct. 14. Flanagan led CMP as President and CEO from 1994-2000 and again as Executive Chairman from February 2020 to September 2021. He first joined the company’s legal department in 1984.
“David was always steps ahead and always thinking about our customers,” said Joe Purington, president and CEO of CMP, in a news release. “He knew how important it was to put the customer first in any decision so that the benefits to Maine people were the most important consideration.
“David was humble with an amazing dry wit and very direct approach. He earned the respect of our employees – many of whom, like me, worked with him when he was first with the company – and he made an impression upon everyone he met.”
Customers and the communities served by CMP were always a primary focus and passion for Flanagan, the release said. Upon becoming CEO in 1994, he paid immediate attention to managing customer rates in a challenging regulatory environment. In a complete overhaul of the rate-setting process, Flanagan and CMP worked with the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Office of the Public Advocate to develop an indexed price-cap system in 1995 that within a few years reflected a decline in the real price of electricity.
He oversaw the lengthy process to sell the company’s energy generation assets in the late 1990’s following the passage of state law that restructured the energy industry in Maine, separating energy generation from electricity distribution.
In 1999, Flanagan closed the transaction that merged CMP into Energy East, a New York-based company that owned NY Electric and Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E). Energy East was later acquired by Iberdrola SA to become Iberdrola USA and then AVANGRID following the merger with UIL Holdings in 2015.
Flanagan retired from CMP in 2000 and rejoined the company in February of 2020 as Executive Chairman, dedicating his time, energy and experience to rebuilding customer trust in the company following the faulty roll out of a new billing system in fall 2017.
Over the past 18 months, Flanagan led CMP’s response to COVID-19, hired more than 100 people to address the unprecedented surge in requests from renewables developers to connect to the grid, oversaw the reorganization of the customer service area, hired a sustainability manager and constantly focused the company on meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
In CMP communities, Flanagan authorized large donations for hunger relief when COVID first hit and donated surplus masks to Maine’s first responders when they were in short supply. He created new and enduring partnerships with Equality Maine, the Travis Mills Foundation and many other community organizations.
“We are so fortunate that David chose to rejoin CMP out of his enduring concern for the employees, customers and communities across the 11,000 square miles CMP serves. He felt very strongly about the good people who work tirelessly in storms and challenging situations to provide reliable power, and also understood that everyone at CMP focuses every day on doing their jobs right and putting the customer first,” said Catherine Stempien, CEO of Avangrid Networks. “David had something to teach all of us and we are all better having worked with him. He touched so many people and organizations in Maine, and we join all of them in saying that we will miss him, and we will do our best to honor his legacy in the way we serve our customers and communities every day.”