Public advocate reminds FairPoint customers to request credit for lost service


PORTLAND — The state’s public advocate Friday reminded FairPoint Communications customers who lost service during recent storms or system failures that they are eligible for bill credits covering the duration of the outage on their next statement.

The credit is not automatic, according to public advocate Tim Schneider, and requires customers to contact FairPoint’s business office at 866-984-2001 to report the dates the outage started and, if resolved, the date it ended.

The notice comes as about 800 of the company’s call center workers and technicians are on strike. The public advocate’s office said there has been a recent increase in the number of service interruptions.

The extent of outages aren’t exactly known in Maine for the company that provides phone and Internet connections in the state. The company’s Internet service is not regulated, and the company will not file reports on phone service quality for the period of the strike until January.

State officials in Vermont have called for a review of FairPoint after outages affected that state’s emergency 911 system. The company’s relationship with Maine’s and Vermont’s emergency systems comes through a contract, not as a regulated utility, allowing states to act more quickly if terms of the contract are not met.

Tom Welch, chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, said in October that FairPoint presented regulators with its plan for continuing emergency phone service. The state’s Emergency Communication Services Bureau is monitoring service quality closely.

In addition to requesting billing credits and staying in touch with FairPoint, the public advocate’s office urged customers with prolonged outages who have notified the company but have not had service restored to call the Public Utilities Commission’s consumer assistance hotline at 1-800-452-4699 and the Office of the Public Advocate at 287-2445.