The Iowa Utility Moratorium Ends Soon

March  26, 2014

      Now that winter is over, thousands of Iowa residents face an important deadline. April first is the end of the annual moratorium on utility disconnections for people behind on their bills.

      Rob Hillesland, spokesman for the Iowa Utilities Board, says Iowa law protects participants in the Home Weatherization Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, starting November 1st each year. 

      "There are 38,337 customers that are LIHEAP certified that are past due on their energy utility bills, and that is up from 35,837 last year or about a 7% increase," says Hillesland.

      The Iowa Utilities Board says more than 243,000 households are behind on their bills and it blames the severe winter and higher costs of natural gas and propane. Hillesland says if you're behind on your utility bills, it's not too late to ask for help.

      "One of the large energy utilities serving Iowa reported that they had done an internal study of their customers that had been disconnected previously and their findings indicated that a majority of them had left options on the table as far as avoiding disconnection." 

      The first option is to contact your utility company to see if you can work out a payment plan. Next, he suggests contacting the local community action agency. The Iowa Utilities Board can also provide help.  Utility companies are allowed to disconnect customers beginning April 2nd.