Jerry McKim says he is especially worried about some of the state’s older residents. “In an effort to better afford their utility bills, a lot of those elderly households will cut back on their prescribed medicine or they set their thermostats too low risking their already insecure health,” according to McKim.
A report last month by the Iowa Utilities Board shows nearly nine thousand customers were involuntarily disconnected in September and October for nonpayment of bills. McKim says those people may face other dangers as they try to stay warm.
“They may use unsafe methods of heating that increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and those who live by candlelight increase the likelihood of a house fire tragedy. In my world this is more than an energy issue,” McKimm says.
McKim says there are still funds available for those who qualify heating assistance. He says he is very concerned that number of people who can’t pay their bills will rise significantly if energy providers ask for and are granted rate increases in 2017.
Thanks to Pat Blank, Iowa Public Radio.