The Maine Public Utilities Commission reminds all gas and electric consumers that disconnection protection is lifted starting Tuesday, April 19.

It will be reinstated Nov. 15. During the winter season, electric and gas utilities may not disconnect utility service without express permission from the Commission’s Consumer Assistance Division.

During the summer period, utilities are not required to receive permission from the Consumer Assistance Division prior to disconnecting customers. They must still, however, follow Commission rules, which govern the timely issuance of disconnection notices and other procedures before a utility service may be terminated.

“The season of ‘winter rules’ for utility disconnections is ending soon, and consumers need to be aware of their rights and obligations,” said Commission Chairman Tom Welch, in a press release.

Consumers who have not paid their entire amounts due over the winter and are unable to bring their accounts current (or, pay the full amount due) immediately, are encouraged to contact their electric or gas utility to ensure that payment arrangements are either established or are up to date and fully understood by both parties.

If there is a disagreement, consumers should contact the Commission’s Consumer Assistance Division at 1-800-452-4699.

The Consumer Assistance Division can assist consumers with efforts to negotiate a payment plan with their utility. In addition, customers may call 2-1-1, which can direct them to federal, state and local resources available to help them pay utility bills.