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Monday, October 13, 2008

Apply for assistance before heating season begins

From an article on Living Lake Country:
The Wisconsin Department of Administration’s (DOA) Division of Energy Services and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) urge energy customers to contact their local utility if their heat is currently disconnected. The agencies also encourage residents to take advantage of energy-efficiency programs and the state’s low-income bill payment assistance programs to reduce the burden of their utility bills this winter.

Wisconsin law states that consumers cannot be disconnected during the heating moratorium period from Nov. 1 through April 15, if they are connected at the start of the moratorium. Customers who are currently disconnected must make arrangements with their local utility to pay outstanding bills to have their service restored. If a consumer has not made arrangements to pay an outstanding bill, the utility is not required to reconnect the service until payment arrangements have been made.

Payment agreements
Consumers who need to set up a payment agreement should call We Energies at (800) 842-4565. If customers cannot reach an agreement with their utility, they may contact the PSC at (608) 266-2001 or (800) 225-7729.

Energy assistance
There is financial assistance available for eligible households who cannot pay their gas or electric bills this winter. The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) administers low-income and energy assistance programs for the state. WHEAP is part of the state’s comprehensive Home Energy Plus program which also provides assistance with emergency energy needs, emergency furnace repairs, and weatherization and conservation services.

Eligibility is based on income and family size. For example, a family of four which earns $7,743.75 or less in the three months prior to applying for assistance is potentially eligible. For a two-person family the earnings must be $5,133.75 or less. Benefits are based on income levels and energy bills. Consumers do not have to be behind in their energy bill payments to qualify.

For information about WHEAP, including contact information for local energy assistance offices, call 1(866) 432-8947) or visit www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov.

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