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Iowa Utility Shutoff Moratorium Ends

Community Action of Eastern Iowa

Thousands of Iowa residents are facing the loss of their electric and natural gas service. Each year, April 1st is the end of the winter moratorium on utility disconnections.

Christine Taylor, Energy Assistance Program Manager for the Iowa Department of Human Rights, says the moratorium, which begins on November lst, protects the state's most vulnerable households.

"Most of the time low income households do not live in energy efficient homes. So what that means is their homes tend to be leakier and colder and so they have to use more natural gas or electric to heat their homes than some of the other households have to."

Figures from the Iowa Utilities Board show, as of February, more than 179,000 utility customers were behind on their bills.

"This year we have seen about a 21 per cent increase in families coming to Community Action to apply for assistance."

Taylor says the moratorium protects those who have been approved for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or the Weatherization Assistance Program. But anyone now facing disconnection should contact their utility and their Community Action agency for help.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.