A spokesman for the state’s largest energy company says the bills for the winter thus far show Iowans have paid less to heat their homes. MidAmerican spokesman Alan Urlis says the average winter heating bill for natural gas thus far is $761, which is $50 lower overall compared to last year. He says warmer weather and lower natural gas prices brought the bills down. Urlis says the lower bills beat projections made before winter.

Urlis says they projected normal winter weather would lead to bills that stayed the same from last year. February ended up being the most expensive month to heat with natural gas with an average bill of 180-dollars. Urlis says the lower bills have also led to fewer people getting behind on their bills.

Urlis says when you compare the number of customers with past-due bills this year compared to last year, there are approximately seven thousand fewer past-due bills. Power companies cannot disconnect a customer for a past-due bill until the end of this month. Urlis says if you’re behind on your bill, you’re encouraged to call the power company to work out a payment plan before the deadline.

Urlis says customers who’re concerned about paying their bill when the shut off moratorium ends, are encouraged to call and set up a payment plan. Urlis says the company wants to work out a payment plan and leave the shut off of service as a last resort. Urlis says you shouldn’t be afraid to call and work out a payment plan. He says the worst thing you can do is be concerned and afraid to call, as the company won’t be able to work with you.

MidAmerican is headquartered in Des Moines and has 696,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.