DES MOINES — As temperatures fall and home heating costs begin adding up, MidAmerican Energy encourages customers facing financial difficulties to apply for low-income home energy assistance program, or LIHEAP, funds.
“Winters can add a financial strain for our customers who struggle to pay their energy bills,” Mike Gehringer, vice president of customer operations for MidAmerican, said. “We encourage any customer with financial challenges to contact their local community action agency to find out if they are eligible for assistance.” Customers concerned about their ability to pay energy bills or who would like to talk about payment arrangements should call MidAmerican at 888-427-5632.
LIHEAP helps qualified low-income families pay winter heating bills. Each state receives and administers funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, so programs vary by state.
Community action agencies in Iowa review applications and administer grant funds. Household income and size, type of primary heating fuel, housing type and other factors are considered.
To be eligible for LIHEAP in Iowa, the total household income for an applicant must be at or below 200 percent of 2021 federal poverty guidelines. For example, a single-person household is eligible with an annual gross income at or below $25,760. A family of four is eligible with an annual gross income at or below $53,000. The program began taking applications Oct. 1 for those 60 years old or older, and will accept applications beginning Nov. 1 for all others. The program accepts applications through April 30, 2022.
Eligible customers who need help with energy bills should apply for LIHEAP at a local community action agency. The Iowa Department of Human Rights has additional information about the program and eligibility requirements.
Budget billing provides predictable monthly bill
MidAmerican Energy customers who want to avoid month-to-month bill fluctuations can opt for the Budget Billing program, which allows customers to pay the same amount each month for a set period. Budget Billing does not lower rates or costs but does offer a more predictable bill.
How you can help low-income customers this winter
To help those in need, customers can donate to MidAmerican Energy’s I CARE program. I CARE provides funding to local community action agencies to assist low-income residents with heating bills and home weatherization.
Customer donations fund I CARE, together with a 25 percent match from MidAmerican Energy. Tax-deductible donations to the I CARE program stay within the local community and go directly to help those in need. MidAmerican Energy customers can donate to the I CARE program via a checkbox on their monthly bill or can pledge online.