Black Hills Energy families struggling with paying their utility and heating bill can receive assistance. The company provides support to low income customers in Iowa using a combination of payment programs and referrals to regional non-profits. Every year thousands of customers, including seniors and the disabled, receive some form of support.
Conservation measures and savings are provided by the Iowa Low-Income Weatherization Program. This is a federal government funded program and it can help people make their homes more energy efficient. This is offered by Black Hills Energy, community action agencies, and other non-profits in partnership with the Iowa Department of Human Rights.
Qualified homeowners can receive free funding for home improvements such as water and space heating equipment upgrades, low flow shower heads, insulation and faucet aerators. Other weatherization updates can include Insulation for floor, ceiling and wall, Band joist, Air infiltration measures, and water heating improvements. Call a community action agency to apply.
Payment arrangements are offered when families face challenges paying their utility bills. Some low income customers may qualify for budget billing plans or installment bill payment options, among other services.
The Free-Form/Customer Choice Payment Arrangement Option allows customers to spread out their energy bills over an eight-week term. A down payment is required by Black Hills Energy. Payment of your current monthly utility bill is required in addition to making the installment payments on time for the duration of the free-form arrangement. Customers will have the convenience to select a due date as well for their monthly bill.
Another Black Hill payment plan is the 10 Percent Payment Arrangement Option. So customers will need to pay 10% of the past due balance on the day the arrangement is set up and then the balance needs to be paid over 6 months.
The Budget Billing Plan will average out a customer's bill. They will need to pay one-twelfth of the current account balance each month. There will be some potential adjustments made as well. For example, the Black Hills energy budget payment amount will be adjusted if the monthly true up/calculation is at least 10 percent greater or less than the current amount. There may also be an annual credit or true up due based on annual usage.
Heating bill assistance is available during the winter. In addition to the payment plans mentioned, Black Hills Energy can provide referrals to non-profits and charities that operate in Iowa. They also support government programs such as low income home energy assistance, or LIHEAP.
The Black Hills Energy Assistance Program (BHEAP) is another resource that offers bill-payment assistance for income-qualified customers in Iowa. It is funded by the federal government and state, and the allotments will change every year. Most of the money is disbursed over the cold winter months for paying heating and gas bills.
Black Hills Cares can also provide emergency grants or funds to help people with paying their energy bills or emergency energy-related expenses, such as furnace repairs or maybe even a replacement. It relies on donations, however the company will match those customer and employee contributions, dollar-for-dollar.
Anything that people contribute is tax deductible and it will make a difference. The Black Hills Cares funds go directly to support local assistance agencies in your area, and they disburse the money to the less fortunate, including seniors or families with young children.
Many community action agencies process applications for low income energy assistance as well. Some of the main locations in Iowa are as follows.
Cedar Rapids, Hawkeye Area CAP, call 319-393-7811
Decorah families should call Northeast Iowa Community Action. Telephone - 563-382-8436
Des Moines is supported by Polk County Weatherization. Dial 515-875-5518.
Dubuque, Operation New View, 563-556-5130
Mason City, North Iowa Community Action, call 641-423-8993
Graettinger, Upper Des Moines Opportunity. Main pone - 712-859-3885
Harlan, West Central Development. Main phone 712-755-5135
Waterloo Iowa is supported by Operation Threshold. Call 319-291-2065
The bottom line is that for low income customers that are facing difficulty paying utility bills, they should call Black Hills. Get information on payment plans, referrals to social service agencies, Iowa based community action organizations, and other support. Call 1-888-890-5554.
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