March 15, 2013 -- Regulatory protections that keep customers from having their utility service disconnected for non-payment of bills expire in seven states today. An additional 14 will end by March 31.
As deadlines for moratoria approach across the country, utilities are encouraging their customers to catch up on unpaid bills. Some, like Ameren Illinois and Wisconsin's Menasha Utilities, are offering payment plans to help customers with outstanding balances.
Ameren allows customers to start plans by putting 10 percent down and paying the remaining balance in monthly installments. Menasha told the media it works with customers throughout the year to catch up on bills. With winter ending, it said customers behind on payment need to contact the utility to avoid disconnection.
For more information about disconnection policies in each state, see the Clearinghouse website.
Some utilities, including Ameren and Pennsylvania's PPL Electric, are encouraging eligible customers to take advantage of LIHEAP and fuel funds to catch up on bills. In some states, LIHEAP programs are set to end in the near future. In Pennsylvania and Arkansas, programs stop at the end of the month, which is also when those states' moratoria expire. In Connecticut, people using oil as their heating source are encouraged to apply to LIHEAP by March 15 to access full benefits.
Sources: Newspapers, LIHEAP Clearinghouse