Winter moratorium on utility disconnection ends

DES MOINES — The Iowa Utilities Board has extended the annual winter ban on shutting off utilities for those customers enrolled in the energy assistance program from today to May 13th due to the flooding in some counties.

IUB spokesman Don Tormey says the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, gives some help in dealing with the bigger bills during the cold winter months. “It is a benefit to them but it only pays for a portion of their service,” Tormey explains.

He says those enrolled should be paying what they can on their bill. “The Iowa Utilities board always encourages those customers and all customers to keep paying toward their energy bill even during the winter months — because even though the program guarantees no disconnection it’s not a free ride,” Tormey says.

He says the utility companies are willing to work with you and won’t automatically cut off your service when the moratorium ends. But Tormey says you have to reach out to them. “Those customers who are protected from utility disconnections — if they are protected under the LIHEAP program for energy assistance — they would need to contact both their local utility company to talk about payment arrangements and contact their local community action agency to seek financial assistance,” Tormey says.

Tormey says they utilities can begin disconnecting service when the moratorium ends if the customer has not made arrangements to pay outstanding balances on their utility bill.