The state Utilities Board is encouraging you to take advantage of programs that allow you to donate to help low-income Iowans pay their heating bills. Board spokesman Rob Hillesland says the utility company’s are required to ask for the donations. He says the programs have been in Iowa law for several years and the Utilities Board encourages you to donate.
Hillesland says the program has a big impact. He says the funds go toward helping people weatherize their homes and for heating assistance. Hillesland says the funds are distributed by local agencies. He says the Iowa Utilities Board annually monitors the funds collected and the way they’re distributed. He says over 16-thousand Iowans made a voluntary contribution to the program last year.
He says the donations totaled about 698-thousand dollars when you include the matching donations from the utilities. He says the largest utilities have also agreed to forgo their administrative costs for the program to make the pool of money larger.
Hillesland says this is a year when the program could be even more important. He says heating costs are anticipated to be 50-percent higher, and that’s with a warmer than normal winter. He says if it’s colder, then heating costs could be even higher. Hillesland says you can find out about donation programs in your area from your local utility.