Federal program helps low-income families cover high heating costs

The extremely cold and long winter has led to record high heating costs for households in Iowa.

The Iowa Division of Community Action Agency administers a federal program, called LIHEAP, which helps low-income families pay a portion of their winter heating bill. Administrator Bill Brand says 278,000 households in Iowa are behind in paying their utility bills. This equates to $42 million owed on those accounts. Brand says laws are in place to prevent LIHEAP qualified residents from getting their utilities shut-off.

â??It's important for households to understand what their rights are in terms of negotiating a payment agreement with their utility company,â?? he said. â??There are laws and rules in place that give certain rights to individuals who have received disconnection notices.â??

If you believe you are eligible for LIHEAP contact your local SIEDA office. Applications will be accepted through April 30th.