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Winter home heating service protection in Iowa ends April 1; thousands of customers behind on utility payments



This news story was published on March 24, 2014.
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DES MOINES – The Iowa Utilities Board reminds Iowa customers that they could be subject to electric or natural gas service disconnection for unpaid bills, unless payment arrangements are made with their local utility. It is vital that customers who cannot pay their energy utility bills contact their local utility for help in avoiding potential service disconnection.

At the same time the Associated Press reported that Iowa Utilities Board figures show that as of February, more than 243,000 households were in arrears on utility payments.  The amount of the debt has hit $46 million.

Customers certified for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and associated Home Weatherization Program, are currently protected from energy service disconnection during Iowa’s annual winter disconnection moratorium, which runs from November 1 through April 1, and could be disconnected for non-payment beginning April 2.

A long winter with several extreme cold spells has resulted in higher heating costs and near- record levels of past due utility bill debt for residential customers in Iowa. Iowans unable to pay their utility bills will need to work very closely with their local utilities and Community Action Agencies (CAAs) to avoid service disconnections. LIHEAP funds are limited, but applications are still being accepted on a first come/first served basis by Iowa’s CAAs through April 30, 2014. All customers, including those not qualifying for LIHEAP or weatherization assistance, may be eligible to enter into a reasonable payment agreement with their utilities to pay accumulated debt over time and to maintain utility service.

Customers having difficulty paying their utility bills should first contact their local utility provider to discuss payment options. The Iowa Utilities Board Customer Service staff will assist customers with issues that are not resolved directly with their utility and can be contacted toll- free at 1.877.565.4450.

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10 Responses to Winter home heating service protection in Iowa ends April 1; thousands of customers behind on utility payments

  1. amy Reply Report comment

    March 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

    This is wrong they are shutting people off all winter long. They came to my place to shut me off I got the 24 hr notice and had to beg and borrow the money to keep my Elec on they say that they can shut you off at any time, when your bill is past due.

  2. Philosophus Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

    There’s solutions coming to North Iowa (actually they’ve been available for decades). I don’t want to hear any more pissing and moaning about utility bills. Mason City Public Library 3:30 pm. Be there or be square.

    • Mediator Reply Report comment

      March 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      I’m sorry I can’t make it this afternoon. I am definitely interested in what is available.

      One question that you may be able to address here: What about building permits and local codes as they apply to these structures? Are they compatible?

    • Mediator Reply Report comment

      March 30, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      How did your meeting turn out?

      Are you able to address the building permit issue I mentioned?

  3. Mediator Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I feel badly for anyone in this situation. It was a horrible winter and I heard stories of people living in low 50s heated homes because they knew they couldn’t afford their heat.

    When you put the LP price bubble on top of that for the rural users, something has to give.

    The good thing is that all of the utility companies have programs to help.

    If you are in this situation, please ask for some help, even if just emotional support.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      March 25, 2014 at 9:04 am

      We run our thermostat at 68 degrees in the winter and 75 in the summer and our budgeted bill has gone up $120.00 in the last six months. They say we are owe $700 over the budgeted amount. So much for cheaper natural gas in Iowa.

      • Anonymouse Reply Report comment

        March 25, 2014 at 9:11 am

        Insulation in the attic, walls and basement/crawlspace

        Seal windows with the shrink film and hang a curtain in front of them.

        The highest bill I have ever had in my house was $150, I turned the heat down further after that one.

        • LVS Reply Report comment

          March 25, 2014 at 9:15 am

          @Anonymous-We have done all that and put in new vinyl window and new doors. Have so much insulation we can’t get anymore in. The one thing I can still do is buy a new furnace but at our age I don’t know if I want to spend the money. We do have a big two story house.

  4. Anonymouse Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2014 at 7:44 am

    “Gosh I only had the thermostat set at 78… Why are my bills so high?”