A number states across the country are opening their LIHEAP application periods this week. In about half of the states, utility disconnection moratoria begin this week or on November 15.
In Ohio, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio issued its annual Winter Reconnection Order last month, which allows gas and electric residential customers to restore service or to avoid a shutoff between Oct. 18 and April 15 by paying no more than $175. Customers who have had service disconnected for nonpayment can have their service restored by paying the amount they owe, not to exceed the $175 limit. A reconnect fee of $33 will also be billed to the customer’s account if the service has been disconnected. There is no income eligibility limit.
In Minnesota, the Cold Weather Rule helps protect residents of all income levels from having their heat turned off between October15 and April 15, so long as the utility company is contacted and a payment plan is followed.
From November 15 through April 15, it is the policy of the Maine Public Utilities Commission that residential customers should not face disconnection because of their inability to pay the entire amount owed by the due date of a bill. During this period, customers may set up a special payment arrangement with their utility company. Customers usually qualify for a special payment arrangement if their income does not equal 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines, if they are eligible for LIHEAP or Supplemental Security Income.
Among the states opening LIHEAP this week are Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Kentucky. Several of these states, including Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana, had been taking early applications from vulnerable households. Ohio’s crisis assistance program also began November 1.
Among the states whose moratoria begin November 1 or November 15 are Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
For more information on utility disconnection moratoria, see the Clearinghouse disconnect information page.
Source: state plans, newspapers