In August, when the summer sun is scorching, it seems strange to be thinking about heating your home. But the reality is that actions not taken in the summer can negatively impact you as the weather turns cold. When people struggle with utility bills, the thought is sometimes to let it slide. After all, you don’t need heat in the summer. This can end up being a very costly mistake.
All states have guidelines for utility companies, preventing them from turning off power in cold weather. That is good news and ensures that a family’s power can’t be shut off in sub-zero temps and create a life-threatening situation. To compensate for these laws the utility companies have been known to aggressively use their shut-off capabilities in the months preceding cold weather. If your utilities are shut-off, it will cost you, as fines and reconnect fees are added to the amount of the overdue bill. If you are behind on your utility bills, you could be putting yourself in jeopardy of a utility shut-off.
Don’t ignore overdue utility bills. If you are having trouble with your bills, you have options.
- Contact your provider to:
- Try to work out a plan.
- See if you can get on a monthly plan that averages your annual cost into uniform monthly payments.
- Ask about utility conservation assistance programs to help you reduce your usage.
- LIHEAP has funds available for those households that meet their guideline.
- Contact the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project at 866-674-6327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Your state may have an assistance program
If you qualify for one of these programs, you’ll be able to get future bills reduced—and may be able to spread out payments on past bills.
If you have tried these resources and still are threatened with a utility shut-off, contact Binc and we may be able to help get you back on track.