A federal program called LIHEAP provides protection from those signed up from having the power shut off between November 1st and March 31st. Iowa’s LIHEAP director Jerry McKim says he is concerned about those not in the program, and says they have some protection too.
“The law says if you haven’t had a payment agreement that you broke in the last 12 months, the utility — not might– they must allow you a minimum of 12 months to pay off you past due balance,” according to McKim.
He says if you have concerns, you can seek help from the customer service office of the Iowa Utilities Board. “They’re the state agency that has authority over every utility in the state for electric and gas on disconnection procedures and payment plan rules, so that’s where you would go if you think you are not being treated fairly,” McKim says. McKim says state law requires utility companies to take into account household income when setting up a 12 month repayment plan.
McKim says fewer people applied for LIHEAP assistance this year, so there are funds available for those who qualify.