If you are a FairPoint customer, I hope you will attend the community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at South Portland City Hall.

Starting in August, many FairPoint customers are going to see important changes in their landline telephone service as service is deregulated according to a law passed this year. If you are receiving what is known as “provider of last resort” service, it will be especially important for you to be there.

If you aren’t certain whether or not you are a “provider of last resort” customer, you should contact FairPoint at (866) 984-2001 with your name and customer account number.

These changes will affect residents in Maine’s 22 largest towns and cities, including South Portland. “Provider of last resort” customers in these communities will start to see changes in their landline telephone service as the new deregulation measures are rolled out.

The new law includes consumer protections negotiated by AARP Maine. “Provider of last resort” landline customers will be grandfathered for one year with guaranteed rates, terms and conditions. The Public Utilities Commission must measure and report the impact of deregulation on customers, workforce and service. And the Legislature will have an opportunity to address issues that may arise.

Over the next few weeks, the PUC will host informational meetings around the state. You can see the list of these meetings posted on AARP Maine’s website at www.aarp.org/me.

The changes going into effect can be confusing. At the community meeting, you’ll have the chance to ask questions, which could be helpful, as the deregulation measures will be rolled out in South Portland starting in August.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to hear about the changes and what they will mean for you.

Ilene Knight

South Portland