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Low-income Families Stay Connected with Telephone Assistance
Having Trouble Paying Your Bill?
September 14, 2009
Maine Public Utilities Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUSTA – Staying connected to local resources and emergency services can improve and possibly save many lives, say state regulators. Access to local emergency services and community resources is vital to our low-income and elderly residents. The Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) wants residents to “stay connected” and is reaching out to those who need phone service but can’t afford it.
During “Lifeline Awareness Week,” September 14-20, the PUC will promote the Lifeline and Link-Up Assistance Programs which offer discounts to help low-income residents have access to basic local telephone service. Sharon Reishus, Chairman of the MPUC, stated “No one 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.”
Under Maine’s 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. Link-Up 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.
To qualify for Lifeline and Link-Up, 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. If customers have questions regarding the Lifeline and Link-Up programs, they can call the PUC’s Consumer Assistance Division at (800) 452-4699.
The Maine 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 Sharon Reishus, Commissioner Vendean Vafiades or Commissioner Jack Cashman, please contact Evelyn deFrees at 207.287.6141 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Commission’s website-- www.maine.gov/mpuc -- may be accessed through the Maine School and Library Network at all public libraries in Maine.
CONTACT: Evelyn deFrees 207-287-6141; 207-485-4243 cell email@example.com
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