MAINE, USA — The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced Tuesday that it will seek input on and begin to analyze in detail how the coronavirus pandemic will impact utilities, customers’ ability to pay their utility bills, and any federal resources available to help both customers and utilities with their ongoing obligations.
“Rapidly rising levels of unemployment in Maine and other adverse effects of the pandemic raise serious questions about customers’ ability to pay their utility bills,” Chairman Philip L. Bartlett II said. “In addition, the effect of closed businesses and other economic challenges will impact utilities’ accounts receivable, and the potential for significant future rate adjustments from these circumstances is of great concern to the Commission. Proactively examining these issues now will better enable us to understand the scope of the problem and to identify options to address the challenges posed by this pandemic and the economic disruption it has caused.”
Maine PUC is seeking input from utility customers, businesses, utilities and other interested stakeholders on these topics. The commission will also look at new federal legislation or changes in federal regulations or policies that are intended to 1) assist utility customers in managing their utility bills under these circumstances, and 2) assist utilities with their ongoing operations and obligations under these circumstances.
On March 16, in response to the economic and social disruption accompanying the spread of COVID-19, Maine PUC declared a moratorium on utility disconnections until further notice.