by Phil Prazan
More than 200,000 Iowans are late on utility bills. There have been 1,200 utility disconnections just in February and starting April 1st, there might be a tidal wave of cut offs.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is a federally funded utility assistance program. It has about 78,000 accounts as of now.
Any account accepted into LIHEAP cannot have their utilities shut off from November 1st through March 31st.
But come the beginning of April, that protection ends and if you're not up to date on your bill, you could get disconnected. You can still apply to the program throughout the month of April for a one-time assistance.
Jerry McKim from LIHEAP says the best case scenario is to work out a payment plan with your utility company. Otherwise LIHEAP is always open for help and advice.
"They just feel like there's maybe no hope and they talk to us and we give them at least some hope and maybe some help and we move on," says McKim.
A family of four who earns less than $34,575 qualifies for LIHEAP.
The phone number is 515-281-0859.