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Energy assistance programs available to eligible Iowans

November 27, 2012
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Des Moines) The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and associated Home Weatherization Program, can help eligible Iowans prepare for potentially increased heating costs. A recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts higher consumption of electricity and heating fuels this winter heating season.

LIHEAP provides limited financial assistance to cover a portion of a consumer's winter heating costs. The Weatherization program provides long-term financial relief to households by improving energy efficiency and educates consumers to become more aware of energy use and methods to reduce consumption. The Iowa Utilities Board encourages all eligible Iowans to contact their local Community Action Agency (CAA) to apply for these energy assistance programs. Consumers can also locate their nearest CAA by contacting their local utility or by calling the Iowa Utilities Board Customer Service Section toll-free at 1-877-565-4450.

Both programs protect a qualified household from natural gas or electric service disconnection during Iowa's annual winter disconnection moratorium, which runs from November 1 through April 1. However, all LIHEAP or Weatherization certified customers should continue paying toward their utility bills through the winter months to avoid accumulation of debt and potential service disconnection in the spring.

Prior to a scheduled natural gas or electric disconnection, customers not certified for LIHEAP or Weatherization may receive a 30-day stay from disconnection during the moratorium by notifying the utility that they will be applying for either of the energy assistance programs. However, those customers must apply, or be subject to disconnection. Customers who do not qualify for Weatherization or LIHEAP may be disconnected for failure to pay utility bills during the winter moratorium timeframe.

Eligibility requirements can be found online from the Iowa Department of Human Rights, which administers both energy assistance programs, or by calling (515) 281-0859. Applications for the LIHEAP and Weatherization programs are accepted on a first come, first served basis.



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