Maine Public Utilities Commission in Hallowell. Credit: Lori Valigra

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission said Monday that it has directed all electric transmission and distribution utilities, natural gas utilities, water utilities and telephone providers of last resort service to halt any disconnection activity until further notice.

This includes the issuance of disconnection notices and actual service disconnections for all classes of customers. Central Maine Power, Emera Maine and Maine Water already had said they would not shut off service.

“No one will lose utility service or be threatened with disconnection during this civil emergency,” commission Chairman Philip Bartlett said. “This applies equally to residential and business customers and is effective immediately.”

The commission is allowed to take emergency actions under its consumer protection rules. Many internet and cable companies also have signed a federal pledge to not shut off service for nonpayment because of the coronavirus.

Lori Valigra, investigative reporter for the environment, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...