Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

News

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 rental permit fees. The Centerville City Council has conducted two working sessions and a third one is planned in order to get a feel for the public's appetite about raising rental permit fees from charging a landlord $25 every two years to charging a certain amount per rental unit per year. So, the question of the week is, "Are you in favor of Centerville increasing rental permit fees?"

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