The state program that helped more than 90,000 Iowa homeowners pay their heating bills last winter is now helping many of those same families stay cool in the blistering heat of summer. Jerry McKim, director of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, says the latest figures show Iowa utilities are owed almost $23-million dollars for unpaid power bills.
“Definitely, there are folks struggling coming out of the winter,” McKim says, “trying to stay cool when it’s 100-degrees out isn’t going to help their situation any.” He says minimal help is available for people having trouble paying their summer power bills, but some may be able to get funds for air conditioners if they’re deemed medically necessary.
“There is a small component of our program that will pay up to $300 for a window air conditioner but that’s only if the agency still has those funds available,” he says. Many community action agencies around Iowa have already spent those funds.
He says some struggling families will end up going into the winter owing even more to the power companies due to high summer cooling costs.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton