Low income Iowa households may be eligible under a new program for up to two-thousand dollars to help pay overdue utility bills.
Iowans who’ve had a pay cut or lost their job due to Covid are eligible for the money which will go directly to their utility company to pay off electric, natural gas or water bills.
Christine Taylor, state director of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, says by August, Iowa households had racked up nearly 30 million dollars worth of unpaid electric and gas bills.
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Nearly 185-thousand residential electric and gas customers in Iowa have past due bills.
More than 60 percent of them are eligible for federal grants from the LIHEAP program Taylor manages.
Taylor says low income Iowans tend to live in older homes that aren’t energy efficient.
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Applications may be submitted to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the new two-thousand dollar grants to cover overdue water, heat and electric bills.
The application period for this winter’s LIHEAP program has already started for disabled residents or Iowans over the age of 60.
Others may start applying November 1st.
Taylor and Iowa-based staff can negotiate a repayment plan for overdue bills in addition to the federal grant money that’s available.
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The new state grants of up to two-thousand dollars cover overdue water bills as well as unpaid heat and electric bills.