MADISON, Wis. — The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Administration are encouraging electric and utility customers to seek assistance as the annual winter moratorium nears an end.
The moratorium, ending April 15, prohibits utility providers from disconnecting heating services from residents that aren’t able to make a payment. It’s meant to protect families during Wisconsin’s coldest months, November through April.
However, after the April deadline, those who are behind on their bills and haven’t made payment arrangements may risk being disconnected.
That’s why the PSC and DOA are encouraging residents to find financial assistance and make arrangements now.
“Wisconsinites should start making a plan with their utility providers, but I encourage them to seek additional assistance through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program and contact the Public Service Commission if more help is needed,” said PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq.
Cameron Valcq said the Evers Administration is working on ensuring support is available throughout the year for Wisconsinites.
Over 200,000 Wisconsin households received close to $120 million in energy assistance through WHEAP in the last fiscal year. This fiscal year, about 150,000 have received $80.7 million — and help is still available.
“Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites have been able to keep their heat and lights on thanks to State and Federal assistance programs, and crisis assistance will remain available,” said DOA Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld. “We’re proud to work together with the Public Service Commission and our local partners to make sure that disconnection is the last resort for any household behind on utility bills.”
Customers can apply for WHEAP by going to energybenefit.wi.gov or by calling 1-800-506-5596.
Before applying, however, the PSC and DOA said customers should contact their utility to try to set up a payment plan.
Utilities are required to offer what’s known as Deferred Payment Agreements to those who cannot pay outstanding bills in full, but public municipal utilities are not required to offer these, though many of them still do.
If you’re unable to reach an agreement, you can contact the PSC at 608-266-2001 or 1-800-225-7729, or you can submit a complaint online.
Here’s how you can contact some of the largest utility providers in the state:
- Alliant Energy; 1-800-255-4268
- Madison Gas & Electric; 1-800-245-1125
- Superior Water, Light & Power; 1-800-227-7957
- We Energies; 1-800-842-4565
- Wisconsin Public Service Corporation; 1-800-450-7260
- Xcel Energy; 1-800-895-4999