If you've been neglecting your electric bill over the winter, the time to pay is now as the winter's grace period is over.

What Do You Mean By Winter's Grace?

It's not uncommon in Maine for people to let their electric bills slide, during the winter, in order to afford things like heating oil. I know I've done it more than once. The problem is that, at some point, you're going to have to pay up, and that can get expensive, depending on how long you've let things go.

I Haven't Been Paying Over the Winter - What Do I Do Now?

Judy Long at Versant Power says the best thing residents can do is to be proactive. Call your utility company and talk to one of their customer service representatives about setting up a payment plan. She says the last thing they want to do is to shut off your electricity. Instead, they really want to work with you to find a mutually beneficial solution to the problem. Those phone numbers are:

Both companies are offering alternative solutions to help you manage your bills, like spreading payments out more evenly, over the course of the year, so winters are not so challenging. Again, call and talk to them and be honest about your financial situation and what you can, realistically, afford.

Beware of Scam Callers Claiming to Be From Versant or CMP

Finally, Judy cautions residents about scammers who could call and pretend to be from the utility company, demanding immediate payment. Long says people with outstanding bills will receive notification in the mail long before the utility staff calls them. A few other things to keep in mind, if you receive one of these calls:

  • The utility company will always ask for the account holder by name and will already know the customer's account number and billing information
  • Your electricity will not be disconnected on a Friday, weekend, or holiday.
  • If you have any doubt about the validity of the call, just hang up. You can then call your utility company, using the number that appears on your bill to ask whether they were really the ones who called.

Never give your financial information to anyone over the phone, especially if you didn't initiate the call.

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