DES MOINES, Iowa — The annual Iowa winter energy assistance moratorium program will end April 1.
“April 2 is the first day families are not protected through the moratorium from disconnect,” said Marci Rafdal, City of Des Moines-Community Action.
The program runs from Nov. 1 to April 1 every year. It is designed to prevent families from losing utilities during the winter months.
With the moratorium ending, utilities companies will begin to send out disconnection notices.
Rafdal urges families who have received a notice to disconnect to come into a Community Action Agency to see how they can assist.
“If families are facing disconnection at any time during the year, we are certainly asking for them to come to our office. We will talk to them about what we may be able to do to help them,” Rafdal said. “If we cannot help them, we will refer them to other agencies in the community.”
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is the most common program Community Action offers to assist families. If the household qualifies the average financial assistance is $400.
“We have assisted about 5700 hundred families through the LIHEAP season this year,” Rafdal said. “We expect to help another 1000 in April.”
The LIHEAP program will accept applications until the end of April. The financial assist is given out on a first come basis.
The numbers of receipts for the program are down this year due to the warmer weather. The average winter temp in 2014-15 was 30.1 degrees, which was 7 degrees warmer than the 2013-14 winter.
“Our numbers are down somewhat. The winter wasn’t as cold and as fierce,” Rafal said. “So, when that happens families are more able to pay on their own, the bills. As the winters get cold and nasty it gets harder for the families to do that.”
If you would like more information on the LIHEAP program you are urged contact the Des Moines’ Community Action Agency at 515-283-4180.