Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


March 27, 2012

Nearly 225,000 households late on power bills

DES MOINES — On April 1, the winter moratorium on utility cut-offs for non-payment ends, and at last report, there were nearly 225,000 utility customers statewide behind on their power bills. Some of them will face disconnection, according to Jerry McKim, the executive director of LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. He says the less-severe-than-expected winter weather helped a little.

"Some milder weather resulted in lower bills. That was a good thing. However, it didn't totally offset the fact that our program's funding was cut."

He says the program was cut by 25 percent, which meant the amount LIHEAP could pay for each household was less than the previous winter. McKim says those who owe winter heating bills need to make arrangements immediately to pay.

"They need to contact the company and work something out, but they need to also know that they do have rights under the law to a reasonable, affordable agreement."

McKim says if they feel they are unable to reach a payment plan they can afford, they need to contact the Iowa Utilities Board.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about building code compliance. One Centerville resident at Monday's City Council meeting proposed the city create two new positions in the police department to only deal with minimum housing and nuisance abatement issues. The city currently has George Johnson as the only employee assigned to enforce building code compliance issues. Does Centerville need more than just Johnson to enforce code compliance issues? So, the question of the week is, "Should Centerville hire additional help to assist George Johnson enforce building code compliance issues?"

A. Yes
B. No
C. Not sure
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