The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) encourages utility customers to stay connected as the heating season comes to an end. The PSC advises consumers to contact their local utility company if they have fallen behind in their utility payments for the 2012-2013 winter season. Utility service may be disconnected on or after April 16, 2013, if energy bills have not been paid or a payment plan has not been arranged with the utility.
PSC rules prohibit utilities from disconnecting consumers between Nov. 1 and April 15 for nonpayment of utility bills due to Wisconsin’s cold climate. However, after April 15, utilities are not required to provide service to customers who are behind on their bills. To avoid disconnection, customers who have fallen behind in payments are encouraged to contact their local utility to set up a payment plan.
To set up a payment plan, customers may call Wisconsin Public Service Corporation at (800) 450-7260.
Consumers who have contacted their utility but cannot reach a payment agreement are advised to contact Public Service Commission Consumer Affairs at (800) 225-7729.
If consumers fail to make payment or payment arrangements with the utility, the utility may disconnect service. Utility companies must inform customers before discontinuing service. In addition, the PSC strongly encourages consumers to be cautious when using alternative heat sources, such as electric space heaters. These devices are not designed or intended to be used as a primary heating source. If left unattended or around children, the heaters can be very dangerous.
For more information about utility disconnections, see the PSC’s Utility Disconnections brochure at: psc.wi.gov/thelibrary/publications/general/consumer04.pdf
The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) manages low income and public benefits programs, which provide financial assistance to pay energy bills for qualifying households. The amount of the assistance varies according to household size, income level and heating costs.
Consumers who need assistance in paying their utility bills may contact Home Energy Plus, which provides information on the state’s energy assistance programs. To learn more about eligibility for WHEAP Assistance, call (866) HEATWIS (432-8947) or visit homeenergyplus.wi.gov/.