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State program helps low income Iowans pay heat bills

Monday, October 29, 2012

The return of cold weather to the state is reminder that you won’t be able to keep your heater turned off all winter. Iowa Utilities Board spokesman, Rob Hillesland, says the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is available to those who may struggle to pay that heating bill.

“It can provide them with some limited financial assistance, I believe it’s a one-time payment amount that helps cover a portion of their winter heating costs,” Hillesland explains. “And also, there’s an associated weatherization program that can provide them some longer-term relief by improving their energy efficiency and educating them on ways that they can also help to reduce their energy use.”

Another benefit of being eligible for LIHEAP, is you are then protected on the utility shut off moratorium. “That runs from November first through April first, and during that winter moratorium period, those customers who are certified as eligible cannot be disconnected from their utility services,” Hillesland says.

He says you should check as soon as possible to see if you might be eligible for the program. Hillesland says the best thing to do is to contact your local community action agency, and if you don’t know how to reach that agency, you can get information from the Iowa Department of Human Rights.

The Human Rights Department has information available on its website at: www.dcaa.iowa.gov, or by calling 515-281-0859. Applications for LIHEAP and the weatherization program are accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Dar Danielson
Des Moines, Iowa
radioiowa.com



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