Thousands of Iowans who are behind on their energy bills are getting more time to arrange payments and avoid having their power disconnected.
The state’s winter moratorium on utility shutoffs ended April 1, but the state’s largest utility companies have agreed to voluntarily comply with a senate resolution extending the moratorium to April 14.
Alan Urliss, with Mid-American Energy, says Iowans who risk losing their power should take the time to call the utility company. "So we can begin working with (the customer) to find out what payment agreement can be made…what payment agreement the customer would be able to comply with," Urliss said. In February, utility companies in Iowa reported 218,360 accounts as past due. That adds up to $36.5 million owed, but does not include rural cooperatives or municipal utilities.
Urliss says most customers could avoid disconnection if they would just make timely payments. "You need to continue to make monthly payments and make an effort, because it’s that good faith effort that helps avoid disconnection," Urliss said. Mid-American, Alliant Energy and Aquilla have all agreed to voluntarily comply with the moratorium extension. Jerry McKim, director of Iowa’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, says the accounts currently past due in Iowa is the second highest monthly total since the year 2000.