Utility customers had better scrape up the cash to keep paying the power bill. Iowa’s winter moratorium law doesn’t kick in till November first. From then till April first, a utility cannot disconnect customers who’ve registered with LIHEAP, Iowa’s Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program. Jerry McKim in the Bureau of Energy Assistance says some people mistakenly think they’ll automatically be protected from having their power shut off if they can’t pay the bill. He says they have to apply, and be eligible for the program, to benefit from the winter moratorium — anyone who hasn’t applied or doesn’t meet the requirements can be shut off for nonpayment. The president’s proposed budget, now put off by Congress till Mid-December, is one-point-four billion nationally, 25-and a half million for Iowa’s share which, if it’s passed, will be a 20-percent cut from last year’s heating assistance. McKim says that proposed budget would mean five and-a-half million dollars less than the department had this past winter for heating assistance. He says it’s a particularly bad time since the DOE’s Energy Information Office is forecasting a 20% increase in the price of propane and natural gas from last winter, and he adds that the weather will be “the wild card.” McKim says that’s assuming energy prices won’t skyrocket like they did in the winter of 2000-2001. They still have folks in payment agreements, working today to pay off the heat bills from two years ago. To get information on the program and get signed up before the November first start of the winter utility-shutoff moratorium, find your way from the state’s website to the public-service and then community-action agency spot.
You are here: / / Winter still weighs heavy on poor