Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 1, 2014

Help with utility bills

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Sieda wants to remind residents they have certain rights when it comes to overdue utility bills. Are you behind on your utility bill and worried about how you are going to pay for it?

The law says you have the right to set up an affordable payment plan.

The law says if you have not broken a payment plan in the last 12 months, the utility has to give you a minimum of 12 months to pay off the past due amount. This is a minimum 12 months not a maximum.

The law also goes on to say the utility must take into account the household’s ability to pay. People often agree to something they cannot afford because they are not aware of their lawful rights to a reasonable affordable payment plan. If you need to negotiate a payment plan and you feel that the utility company is not treating you fairly, call the Iowa Utility Board’s customer service department at 1-877-565-4450. The Iowa Utility Board is the state agency that has authority over all Iowa utility companies.

If you believe you might be eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, there is still time to apply. Applications are taken through April 30 at Sieda Community Action, 310 W. Main St., P.O. Box 658, Ottumwa, Iowa 52501 or call (641) 682-8741 or (800) 326-8340.

Sieda Community Action, a private organization established in 1965 as a community action agency, implements a range of services designed to strengthen families, promote child development and help individuals and families with basic needs. Through our programs, individuals in Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Mahaska, Van Buren and Wapello counties are better prepared to meet their basic needs. With this strong foundation, individuals and families are more likely to become self-reliant and contribute positively to their families and communities.