April 15 marks the end of the winter moratorium on disconnecting utility service for Wisconsin utility customers. Customers who are behind on their bills are urged to reach out to their utility to set up a payment plan, and to apply for energy assistance if they’re eligible. Here are resources for customers facing disconnection or needing energy assistance.
1) Contact Your Utility
If you are having trouble paying your bills or are facing disconnection, always contact your utility first. Utilities are required to offer Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA) to residential customers who cannot pay an outstanding bill in full. Many utilities also offer an arrearage management or forgiveness program so make sure to ask your utility has such a program and if you qualify.
Here is contact information for each of the state’s major electric and natural gas utilities:
|Alliant Energy (Wisconsin Power and Light)||800-255-4268|
|Madison Gas and Electric (MG&E)||608-252-7222|
|We Energies/Wisconsin Gas||800-842-4565|
|Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPSC)||800-450-7260|
|Xcel Energy (Northern States Power)||800-895-4999|
|Superior Water, Light and Power||800-227-7957|
Customers who cannot reach a payment agreement with their utility or believe that there is an error in their bill should file a complaint with the PSC by either:
- calling 1-800-225-7729, or 1-608-266-2001 (Local)
- filing a complaint online on the PSC website.
- sending a letter to
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707-7854
2) Apply for Utility Bill Assistance
Customers who are struggling with their energy bills may be eligible for energy assistance through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). WHEAP is part of the state’s comprehensive Home Energy Plus program, which provides assistance with emergency energy needs, emergency furnace repairs, conservation service and weatherization for low-income households. To apply online, customers can go to energybenefit.wi.gov or to apply by phone, customers can call 1-800-506-5596.
Water Bill Assistance
Customers having difficulty paying their water bills may be eligible for assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources, which provides water assistance to eligible homeowners and tenant customers through the Wisconsin Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIWAP). If you are in danger of falling behind on your water bills & losing your water service call 1-833-H2O-WISC (833-426-9472) to directly connect with a LIHWAP eligibility specialist. To apply for water bill assistance, go to wisconsinwater.help or call 1-833-426-9472.
Other Types of Assistance
- Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund (KWWF) is a statewide, non-profit charitable effort established in 1996 to keep the heat and power on for our most vulnerable Wisconsinites (elderly, disabled, working families, veterans). Through public, private, and community partnerships, KWWF may be able to provide preventative services and financial assistance to alleviate potential life-threatening energy-related emergencies. More information: www.kwwf.org or 800-891-9276
- Heat for Heroes is a campaign of KWWF providing extra assistance to Wisconsin veterans in need. More information: http://heat4heroes.org or 800-891-9276.
- Customers may be eligible for other housing assistance, such as emergency rental assistance. Go to energyandhousing.wi.gov for more information, or call 800-506-5596.
3) Explore Ways to Make Future Bills More Manageable
Make Sure You’re on the Right Rate
Did you know that all Wisconsin private and municipal electric utilities offer a time-of-use (or time-of-day) electricity rate that lets you pay less for usage during “off-peak” hours and on weekends? And did you know that many customers would pay less over the course of the year on a time-of-use rate, all without making any changes to the way they currently use electricity? Call your utility and ask if a time-of-use plan might make sense for you.
Customers on a “flat” electricity rate often qualify for a budget-billing payment plan. This option evens out the size of your bills over the year, with periodic “true-ups” every 6 or 12 months if your usage ends up being higher or lower than expected.
Saving Energy to Save Money
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities’ statewide energy efficiency program, has rebates and incentives available to improve the efficiency of your home.
Focus offers free energy packs that are available for all customers of utilities that participate in the Focus program. Focus offers a variety of products, including smart thermostats available at a discounted price, on the Focus online marketplace.
More information: www.focusonenergy.com or 800-762-7077.
Weatherization and Furnace Assistance
Wisconsin’s Weatherization Assistance Program assists low-income families who don’t have the resources to invest in energy efficiency. The Weatherization Assistance Program funds improvements to the energy efficiency of homes occupied by low-income households, using the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available in the housing industry. The HE+ Furnace Program is a year-round program that provides assistance to eligible low-income Wisconsin households when their primary heating system no longer provides heat, is inoperable or becomes unsafe. Use the county map at energyandhousing.wi.gov to see who to contact in your area regarding assistance.