MADISON - The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is urging electric and natural gas consumers who are currently disconnected from service to contact their local utility so that a reconnection may occur before the annual heating-disconnection moratorium begins on November 1st. Each winter, utilities are prohibited from disconnecting customers who are behind on their bill from November 1st - April 15th.
Wisconsin law states that heat-providing utility service cannot be disconnected during the heating moratorium period only if a customer is connected at the start of the moratorium.
Consumers who are currently disconnected must make arrangements with their local utility to pay outstanding bills in order to have service restored. If a consumer has not made arrangements to pay an outstanding bill, the utility is not required to reconnect the service until payment arrangements have been made.
Consumers who need to set up a payment agreement should call their local utility. Phone numbers for the largest utilities in Wisconsin are listed below:
The PSC also encourages eligible residents to take advantage of energy-efficiency programs and the state's low-income bill payment assistance programs to reduce the burden of utility bills this winter.
Consumers may qualify for assistance in paying their heating bills through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP), which provides financial assistance to low-income residents.
WHEAP is part of the state's comprehensive Home Energy Plus program which provides assistance with emergency energy needs, emergency furnace repairs, conservation service and weatherizing for low-income households.
For the 2012-2013 heating season the income eligibility limit for WHEAP and Weatherization is 60% of the state median income level. This is the same limit used for the 2011-2012 program year.
The State of Wisconsin anticipates nearly 217,000 households will receive energy assistance to pay a portion of their fuel costs this heating season. It is estimated that the average benefit for 2012-2013 will be $240.
Payments are based on household size, income level, home energy costs, and dwelling type and size. A family of four with an annual income of $46,697 or less may be eligible for energy assistance.
Applicants must provide: