Maine Public Utilities Commission
Website: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/, Email: email@example.com
CONTACT: Nicole Clegg, 207-287-8519, Nicole.Clegg@maine.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 8, 2007
PUC REMINDS ELECTRICITY CUSTOMERS OF WINTER DISCONNECTION RULES
A new provision this year requires delivery of an informational packet to any customer whose service was disconnected for non-payment during the summer months and never got the service reconnected.
Chairman Adams also warned Mainers about the dangers of using portable generators to power their homes. “These generators create carbon monoxide, an odorless gas which can easily overwhelm a sleeping household, and in some cases be fatal,” he said. “We urge Mainers to work with their utilities and with us to make sure they have safe power sources.”
The PUC’s rules bar utilities from shutting off power to any customer between November 15th and April 15th without explicit permission from the PUC’s Consumer Assistance Division (CAD). The CAD will work with customers to establish affordable payment arrangements, and to find financial assistance for paying electric or gas bills.
the rules, all
Letters, phone calls and in-person attempts at contact are all required before a disconnection may take place. If a utility decides to seek permission for a winter disconnection, the CAD will immediately contact the residence and try to resolve the issue. The CAD will also help the consumer access any available financial assistance. Programs and protections include:
· The Low-Income Assistance Program (LIAP), a year-round assistance subsidy that provides utility bill discounts or credits to low-income families. The fund currently is capitalized at $7 million.
· The Energy Crisis Intervention Program for eligible families which have received a disconnection notice and can not negotiate or honor an existing payment plan.
· Emergency assistance from the Maine Department of Health and Human services when a disconnection is imminent.
· Low-income customers who must use an oxygen pump or ventilator at least 8 hours a day may qualify to receive a utility bill credit to cover the cost of electricity for the device.
Customers who have difficulties paying their electric or gas bills should not hesitate to contact their utility to address the problem. If they are not satisfied with the result, they should call the CAD at (800) 452-4699. No customer should lose their electric or gas service during the winter months when freezing temperatures pose a significant risk to their health and well being. A timely call to the utility or the CAD should prevent a disconnection from occurring.
For more information or to arrange and interview with Chairman Adams or the Director of the Consumer Assistance Division, call Nicole Clegg at 287-8519.
The Public Utilities Commission is committed to ensuring that consumers have access to safe and reliable service for public utilities and that the rates for these utilities are just and reasonable. PUC programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, Dig Safe, and Efficiency Maine.
To arrange an
interview with Chairman Adams, Commissioner Sharon Reishus, or Commissioner
Vendean Vafiades, please contact Nicole Clegg at 207.287.8519 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Commission’s website, www.maine.gov/mpuc may be accessed through