With temperatures fluctuating this winter, the number of Iowans paying their power bills on time has dropped.
According to Director of Iowa Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Jerry McKim, the most recent state statistics indicate there were 279,706 residential accounts past due in November.
The LIHEAP program is federally funded and contracted to the state. It offers assistance with power and heating bills. "Its a great program that runs from October to April."
"It can help in many different ways," said Anita Jorgenson, key account manager for Spencer's Upper Des Moines Opportunity.
The help offered by the program gives a one time payment to the heat supplier, according to Jorgenson. How much is received depends on the type of home and the type of heat the home has.
Because the program runs through winter, those who receive help won't have the power disconnected until April 1. This allows customers time to catch up on their utility payment, and so families won't be without heat for the winter.
Jorgenson said that around 600 households a year receive help with power bills in Spencer and the surrounding area.
McKim noted that although the number of delinquent households are up, use of assistance is down 7 percent.
The state may be experiencing an increase in customers paying their bills late, but Spencer numbers are holding steady.
"We haven't seen an increase in customers not paying their bills this year in comparison to last year," said Spencer Municipal Utilities General manager Steven Pick.