IUB Urges all Utilities to Refrain from Service Shutoffs due to COVID-19, Supports Extending LIHEAP Application Period to May 31
Iowa Utilities Board urges all utilities to refrain from service shutoffs due to COVID-19
IUB also supports extending LIHEAP application period to May 31
(Des Moines) – Due to COVID-19 and the State of Public Health Disaster Emergency, the Iowa Utilities Board is urging all utilities including non-investor owned -- especially those providing water service -- to temporarily ban disconnection of service to customers. The IUB also recommends all telecommunications companies suspend service shutoff to customers during this time.
Given the critical role water service plays in hygiene, the request to cease disconnection extends to municipal and cooperative utilities. Customers can review more information regarding COVID-19 impacts and safety of water from the Iowa DNR Water Supply Listserv.
In addition, the IUB appreciates the Department of Human Rights, Division of Community Action Agencies, action to extend the application period for eligible Iowans to apply for financial assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) until May 31, 2020.
The IUB last week issued an emergency order extending the utility disconnection moratorium period until May 1, 2020, and directing all electric and natural gas utilities in the state to cease shutoffs of residential service due to nonpayment for all LIHEAP and weatherization eligible customers.
Iowa’s investor-owned utilities providing gas, electric and drinking water service to Iowa customers have already notified the IUB that customer disconnections will be temporarily suspended during this emergency. Iowa’s investor-owned utilities are MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy-Interstate Power and Light Company, Black Hills Energy, Iowa American Water, and Liberty Utilities. The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities have also notified the IUB that their members intend to temporarily suspend the disconnection of services to their customers at this time. These actions are intended to provide a continuation of services to their customers while the disaster proclamations are in effect.
Iowans seeking LIHEAP financial assistance for utility bills should contact their local community action agency before May 31 to discuss the application process and eligibility. The IUB urges all customers to continue paying their energy bills to avoid accumulating high debt and facing potential utility service disconnection once the moratorium and COVID-19 emergency periods end.
For the latest guidelines about preventing the spread of COVID-19, see the Iowa Department of Public Health’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage.