Act now to prevent utility disconnection - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Act now to prevent utility disconnection

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - During the winter months, low-income Iowans receive special protections. People who qualify for energy assistance can not have their utilities shut off between November and April. Those protections end next week which means now is the time to prevent utility disconnections.

"The board is remind people that it is vital that they contact their energy utility for help and avoiding potential service disconnection," said Rob Hillesland, Iowa Utilities Board.

From November 1 to April 1, utility companies can't shut off natural gas or electricity for Iowans who qualify for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or the Home Weatherization Program.

Starting April 2 customers with unpaid bills are at risk, but only if they haven't reached out to their utility company to set up a payment plan.

"Give your utility company a call right away," said Justin Foss with Alliant Energy. "Tell them 'Hey, i know I'm behind on my utility bill. Can you help me out?' We'll be more than willing to help out."

Utility companies are required to send out notices at least 12 days before disconnecting service. So if you're at risk you still have time to work out a plan before the April 1 deadline.

"Disconnecting customers is a last resort," said Foss. "It's something we don't want to do"

It's also not too late to apply for energy assistance help through programs like LIHEAP. There are income qualifications and funds are limited.

To learn more about what services you qualify for, you can call 211.
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