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MPUC Promotes Telephone Assistance for Low-Income Mainers
September 9, 2010
AUGUSTA – During the nationally organized “Lifeline Awareness Week”--September 12-18--the Maine Public Utilities Commission is promoting the telephone programs, Lifeline and Link-Up Assistance, which offer discounts to low-income residents in order to ensure access to basic local telephone service. This discounted phone service gives these Mainers a chance to get and retain needed access to local emergency services and community resources.
“No Mainer should be without telephone service because they can’t afford it. Telephone service provides access to vital emergency services and community resources. If customers need help paying for their telephone services, there is help,” notes Commission Chair Jack Cashman. The Commission wants all Mainers to stay connected including those who need phone service but can’t afford it.
Under Maine’s ongoing Lifeline program, telephone customers who participate in certain public assistance programs are entitled to receive a basic telephone service discount of up to $13.50 per month. In addition, the Link-Up program provides a 50% reduction in the telephone service installation charge, up to a maximum of $30, for qualifying households that do not currently have telephone service. This year, for the first time, the SafeLink program provides similar help for Mainers who do not have stable home addresses; SafeLink offers free cell phones and several plans with free pre-paid calling minutes.
To qualify for these programs--Lifeline and Link-Up or SafeLink--a customer or a member of the customer’s household must qualify for one of the following services: food stamps, Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI), Medicaid (including expanded Maine Medicaid), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Emergency Assistance Program, or the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
To enroll in Lifeline or Link-Up, customers should contact their local telephone company. To enroll in the SafeLink program, call (800)-977-3768 or visit www.safelinkwireless.com. If customers have questions regarding the Lifeline and Link-Up programs, they can call the Commission’s Consumer Assistance Division at (800) 452-4699.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, and Dig Safe.
Contact: Evelyn deFrees, 207-287-6141 email@example.com
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