CUSTOMER RIGHTS AND REMEDIES TO AVOID DISCONNECTION
The following is a summary of your rights and remedies under the rules of the Iowa State Utility Board to avoid disconnection of utility service.
DISCONNECTION can be avoided by paying the past due amount or by making arrangements to pay on or before the date listed on the notice.
DISCONNECTION for non payment may occur only after we have sent written notice of disconnection by regular mail postmarked at least 12 days before service is to be shut off. This notice must include the reason for disconnection. We must try to contact you by phone or in person prior to disconnection. If disconnection is scheduled between November 1 and April 1 and it has not been possible to contact you by phone or in person, a notice must be placed on a door of the residence at least one day before service is disconnected.
DISCONNECTION may not take place unless we are prepared to reconnect your service that same day, if payment or other arrangements are made. Between November 1 and April 1, we can not require you to pay a deposit before service is reconnected or as part of an agreement for service to be continued.
If you are unable to pay a past due bill in full, you will be given an opportunity to enter into a payment agreement to avoid disconnection for service. The agreement will be negotiated to meet your individual needs and you may spread payments for the past due bill over at least 12 months. You must also agree to pay each new monthly bill as it comes due. If we refuse an agreement, you will be told in writing why we refused and you may continue to pay under your proposed agreement without disconnection of service if you ask the Board within 10 days after receiving the written refusal for assistance in working out an agreement with us. Iowa Utilities Board 350 Maple Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0069 at 1-877-565-4450. If you break the payment agreement, we are not required to offer you a second payment agreement and may disconnect service on one day’s notice.
DISCONNECTION for non-payment will be delayed 30 days if a physician or public health official determines that a permanent resident in your house has a serious health problem and will be endangered if service is shut off. At your request, a telephone call from the physician or public health official to our office must be followed up by a letter within 5 days. During the 30-day delay, you must work out a payment agreement. If the physician or public health official state that the health problem still exists at the end of the initial 30 days, you may receive additional 30 day delays.
If you disagree with the accuracy of your bill, you may pay the undisputed portion and notify our office of the disagreement. Disconnection will be delayed for up to 45 days from the date the bill was mailed so that the disagreement may be settled. If you file a written complaint with the Board disconnection may be further postponed, should the Board request the extension.
FROM NOVEMBER 1 through APRIL 1, you may be eligible for low-income energy assistance or weatherization funds. If you tell us that you may qualify for energy assistance, you will be given 12 days from the date on which disconnection notice was mailed to apply to the local community action agency. You must apply prior to the disconnection date. If the community action agency certifies you as being eligible for either low-income assistance or weatherization funds within 30 days from the date of your application then your service cannot be disconnected between November 1, and April 1. It is unlikely, however, that energy assistance funds will pay all of your bills. It is to your advantage to make a payment arrangement now to avoid disconnection of your service after April 1. If you have been certified as eligible for assistance and you receive a disconnection notice from your gas or electric company, it is up to you to ensure that your Utility Company is aware of your eligibility. For further information on how to apply for assistance and qualifications, contact our business office Division of Community Action Agency of the Department of Human Rights, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa (515-281-0859) or your community action agency, Matura Action Corporation. (641-743-2424).