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I-Team: Cable outage during storm? Get a credit

Powerful wind, heavy rain cause thousands of power and cable outages (WGME photo: October 30, 2017)

STATEWIDE (WGME) -- The wind storm last month knocked out power and cable to hundreds of thousands of Mainers, in some cases for days.

If you aren't using power, you don't pay for it, but the I-Team is hearing from many viewers wondering about cable bills.

"I think it's unfair; very unfair. It's a service that's being provided and you're paying for the service. You're not getting a service so why are you paying for it?" Durham cable customer Terry Kirk wanted to know.

We found a change to state law 10 years ago gives consumers the right to get a credit when cable service is interrupted, but you have to ask for it.

According to Maine law, upon request, if your cable service is interrupted for 6 or more hours in a 30 day period, the cable company has to give you a pro rated credit or rebate.

"It's really not well known that this law exists," said Maine Public Advocate Barry Hobbins.

Hobbins was in the legislature on the Energy, Utilities, and Technology committee when the law passed in 2007.

He said the cable companies have assured him they will review each customer outage on a case by case basis.

Both Spectrum/Time Warner and Comcast told the I-Team the same thing -- customers can call them directly and credits will be issued on a case-by-case basis.

"It's appropriate for them to say case-by-case basis because not all the facts are in on each case. However in most cases, there was an interruption of service, and I'm hoping they will honor that," Hobbins said.

Still customers like Terry Kirk are frustrated they'll have to call to get their credit.

"I feel that you shouldn't have to call; it should be automatic, and it's serious money," Kirk said.

While not specifically covered by Maine law, the cable companies told us they will also consider credits for internet outages on a case-by-case basis.

Spectrum (Time Warner): 1-855-225-7898

Comcast: 1-800-934-6489

Maine consumers who have issues getting credits on their bills are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division:

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