A new report by the state’s utility companies says an all time record number of households are behind on paying their energy bills.  The Iowa director of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP, Jerry McKim, says he’s concerned about those who are not part of the program.

McKimm says a lot of the household with past due accounts either are not eligible for the program, or didn’t get signed up, and they could have their service disconnected. Those in the program are protected from having their heat shut off between November first and March 31st.

The report says 267,000 accounts were past due in January, a ten percent increase from last year. McKimm says that could lead to another dubious record. McKimm says there could be a record number of disconnected households, which he says takes it from “an energy issue” and turns it into a “public health matter.”

McKim says utility companies are required to work with customers to develop a payment plan, but it is up to the individuals to ask for help.