IUB encourages customers to contact their utility to arrange payment plans, avoid service shutoffs
(Des Moines) – Iowa’s annual winter home heating moratorium ends April 1, 2023. The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) reminds energy assistance customers currently protected from service disconnection through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), to contact their local utility company immediately to discuss payment options and avoid disconnection that could begin as soon as April 3.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division of Community Action Agencies, and is designed to assist qualified homeowners and renters pay a portion of their primary home heating costs through a one-time payment made directly to the utility or heating fuel vendor. Under Iowa’s winter moratorium law, customers who qualify for LIHEAP or the federal Weatherization Assistance Program are protected from the shutoff of natural gas or electric service annually from November 1 to April 1.
The end of winter moratorium period can be stressful. To assist customers during this time of the year, remember:
- Consumers can still apply for LIHEAP through April 30, 2023.
- Local community action agencies may have additional resources.
- 211 Iowa is a resource for assistance with utility payments, housing, and other information that may provide financial relief to customers.
When can utility service be disconnected?
- For nonpayment of a bill, all Iowa utilities must provide written notice to a customer at least 12 days prior to disconnection. Customers who have defaulted on a payment agreement may be disconnected with 24 hours’ notice.
- Notice must include the reason for disconnection and the final date payment is due.
- Notice must include the "Customer Rights and Responsibilities" language from 199 of the Iowa Administrative Code.
- If a customer’s rental unit is subject to disconnect the utility must attempt to contact the landlord at least two days prior to the disconnection.
All utility customers, including those who do not qualify for energy assistance, may be eligible to enter into a reasonable payment agreement with their utility company that allows them to pay accumulated debt over time while maintaining utility service. Iowa utility customers can learn more about eligibility and crisis assistance by contacting their local community action agency.
IUB Customer Service staff is available to assist consumers with questions about utility service disconnection or other issues that are not resolved directly with their utility company. Call 877-565-4450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IUB rules regarding natural gas or electric service, payment agreements, and customer rights and responsibilities to avoid disconnection of utility service can be found in 199 Iowa Administrative Code chapter 19 and chapter 20.
Additional information about low-income energy assistance is available on the IUB website LIHEAP page.