Consumer Help

Finding the right office to register your complaint against a particular utility or business is often a confusing process. We offer the following suggestions to simplify your search.

Where to Go for Help When Having a Dispute with a Service Provider

Utilities – The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has jurisdiction over local telephone service, electric, gas and water utilities. For electricity, the PUC has broad jurisdiction over electric transmission & distribution utilities that deliver electricity and limited jurisdiction over suppliers that supply the electricity. Technically, the PUC has jurisdiction over local and instate long-distance telephone service, but not interstate service. However, many disputes involve both, so the PUC will generally try to assist in resolving long-distance service disputes. They generally do not have jurisdiction over wireless companies and cable companies. Staff members can help prevent disconnection of service, assist in setting up a fair payment arrangement, give advice concerning rules that apply to utility service, and can often resolve service or billing disputes. Decisions of the Consumer Assistance and Safety Division may be appealed to the full 3-member Commission.

Cable Companies – Cable TV and Internet service providers are largely unregulated businesses. The FCC in Washington D.C. has authority to regulate cable service and there are some federal rules that govern service standards. In addition, since local municipalities periodically approve the franchise agreement with the cable operator, there may be some service standards to be enforced by your town. However, in most cases, neither your town nor the FCC will be of much help in resolving an individual dispute. Therefore, you can consider contacting the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team (207-626-8800) if you believe the company has committed wrongdoing. If you simply have a question or concern to voice, the OPA may be able to help (207-624-3687).

Wireless Companies – Like Cable companies, wireless companies are largely unregulated with respect to service quality and billing disputes with consumers. Customers can file a complaint the same way they would any other unregulated industry, by contacting Maine’s Attorney General Consumer Protection Office at 207-626-8849.

Internet Services – (Dial-Up, DSL, wireless or Cable-Modem) – Another unregulated service. Even if your Internet service is provided by an affiliate of a regulated telephone company, the PUC has no jurisdiction over the Internet service, and telephone utilities are under no obligation to improve your telephone line to allow adequate dial-up or DSL Internet Service. You may find it helpful to contact Maine Connectivity Authority at 207-370-7439.