Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

March 23, 2014

Winter home heating service protection ends April 1

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.

Customers certified for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and associated Home Weatherization Program, are currently protected from energy service disconnection during Iowa’s annual winter disconnection moratorium, which runs from Nov. 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 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. 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. Visit this link for information about Iowa’s rules regarding natural gas and electric service disconnections and payment agreements.

For more information about low-income energy assistance, visit the Board’s LIHEAP Informational Page and the Iowa Department of Human Rights web site.

The Iowa Utilities Board regulates utilities to ensure that reasonably priced, reliable, environmentally responsible, and safe utility services are available to all Iowans.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
     View Results
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