The sign up begins today for the program that provides assistance to low income Iowans who need help with their energy bills. Rob Hillesland of the Iowa Utilities Board says those who are signed up for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or the Home Weatherization program also get some other help.
“These programs help protect them against energy/utility service disconnection during the winter months,” Hillesland explains. The protection against having the utilities disconnected begins Friday November first and runs through April 1st. Hillesland says LIHEAP provides some financial help with energy bills for those who qualify. “They have to meet certain income guidelines or show that they participate in certain programs in order to be eligible,” Hillesland says.
He says you can find out how to sign up through your local community action agency. LIHEAP doesn’t cover all the utility costs. “Usually it will pay a portion of what their winter heating costs are — its’a supplemental assistance, it’s not going to pay all their heating bills,” according to Hillesland. He says participants are encouraged to keep paying what they can.
“That is something that the Iowa Utilities Board strongly urges, it that anyone who is certified as eligible for LIHEAP and receives that winter disconnection moratorium, continues to pay on their energy bills to the extent that they are able to throughout the winter months,” Hillesland says. “Otherwise, they can collect a large bill that they are unable to pay when the moratorium ends in the spring.” The Home Weatherization program is also available for low income Iowans.
Hillesland says the program helps people do things to their homes to make them more energy efficient and provide longer term savings. Those who are signed up for the weatherization are also given protection from being disconnected from their utilities during the moratorium.
Hillesland says elderly Iowans have already been signing up for the program and now low-income Iowans who qualify can now sign up. You can find out more about the eligibility requirements for the two programs from the Iowa Department of Human Rights, or on the Iowa Utilities Board website at: iub.iowa.gov