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MPUC Notes Seasonal Changes in Disconnection Rules
Assistance for consumers struggling to pay bills still available
April 9, 2009
Maine Public Utilities Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AUGUSTA, Maine – Most Mainers know that in the winter season, electric and gas utilities may not disconnect service without express permission from the Consumer Assistance Division of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
That protection is lifted, however, during the period that begins next week, on April 15, and extends through November 15. Utilities still must follow Commission rules governing the timely issuance of disconnection notices and other procedures before a service may be terminated.
“It’s important for consumers to be aware of their rights and obligations, as what we call the ‘winter rules’ come to an end,” said Sharon M. Reishus, who chairs the Commission. “We do have rules and services in place which can help consumers who make good-faith efforts to pay their bills avoid disconnection at any time of year.”
The Commission is encouraging consumers who may not have paid their entire amounts due over the winter to contact their electric or gas utility to ensure that payment arrangements are up-to-date and fully understood by both parties. If there is a disagreement, consumers should contact the Consumer Assistance Division at 1-800-452-4699.
The CAD can assist consumers in their efforts to negotiate a payment plan with their utility. In addition customers can also call 2-1-1, which can direct them to federal, state and local resources available to help them pay utility bills. Consumers are also encouraged to review tips provided by Efficiency Maine (ww.efficiencymaine.com) which can assist them in reducing household energy use.
For more information or to arrange and interview with the Director of the Consumer Assistance Division, call Fred Bever at 287-6141.
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