- Pay the bill in full; or
- Enter into a reasonable payment plan with Access Energy Cooperative (see #2 below); or
- Apply for and become eligible for low-income energy assistance (see #3 below); or
- Give Access Energy Cooperative a written statement from a doctor or public health official stating that shutting off your electric service would pose an especial health danger for a person living at the residence (see #4 below); or
- Tell Access Energy Cooperative if you think part of the amount shown on the bill is wrong. However, you must still pay the part of the bill you agree you owe Access Energy Cooperative (see #5 below).
- Contact Access Energy Cooperative as soon as you know you cannot pay the amount you owe. If you cannot pay all the money you owe at one time, Access Energy Cooperative shall offer you a payment plan which spreads payments evenly over at least 12 months. The plan may be longer depending on your financial situation.
- If you have not made the payments you promised in a previous payment plan with Access Energy Cooperative and still owe money, you may qualify for a second payment agreement under certain conditions.
- If you do not make the payments you promise, Access Energy Cooperative may shut off your utility service on one day’s notice unless all the money you owe Access Energy Cooperative is paid or you enter into another payment agreement.
- Applications are taken at your local community action agency. If you are unsure where to apply, dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431, or visit humanrights.iowa.gov/dcaa. To prevent disconnection, you must contact the utility prior to disconnection of your service.
- To avoid disconnection, you must apply for energy assistance before your service is shut off. Notify Access Energy Cooperative that you may be eligible and have applied for energy assistance. Once your service has been disconnected, it will not be reconnected based on approval for energy assistance.
- Being certified eligible for energy assistance will prevent your service from being disconnected from November 1 through April 1.
Contact Access Energy Cooperative if you believe this is the case. Contact your doctor or a public health official and ask the doctor or health official to contact Access Energy Cooperative and state that shutting off your utility service would pose an especial health danger for a person living at your residence. The doctor or public health official must provide a written statement to Access Energy Cooperative office within 5 days of when your doctor or public health official notifies Access Energy Cooperative of the health condition; otherwise, your utility service may be shut off. If Access Energy Cooperative receives this written statement, your service will not be shut off for 30 days. This 30-day delay is to allow you time to arrange payment of your utility bill or find other living arrangements. After 30 days, your service may be shut off if payment arrangements have not been made.
You may dispute your utility bill. You must tell Access Energy Cooperative that you dispute the bill. You must pay the part of the bill you think is correct. If you do this, Access Energy Cooperative will not shut off your service for 45 days from the date the bill was mailed while you and Access Energy Cooperative work out the dispute over the part of the bill you think is incorrect. You may ask the Iowa Utilities Board for assistance in resolving the dispute. (See #9 below.)
- Access Energy Cooperative can shut off service between the hours of 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Access Energy Cooperative will not shut off your service on nights, weekends, or holidays for nonpayment of a bill.
- Access Energy Cooperative will not shut off your service if you enter into a reasonable payment plan to pay the overdue amount (see #2 above).
- Access Energy Cooperative will not shut off your service if the temperature is forecasted to be 20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder during the following 24-hour period, including the day your service is scheduled to be shut off.
- If you have qualified for low-income energy assistance, Access Energy Cooperative cannot shut off your service from November 1 through April 1. However, you will still owe Access Energy Cooperative for the service used during this time.
- Access Energy Cooperative will not shut off your service if you have notified Access Energy Cooperative that you dispute a portion of your bill and you pay the part of the bill that you agree is correct.
- If one of the heads of household is a service member deployed for military service, utility service cannot be shut off during the deployment or within 90 days after the end of deployment. In order for this exception to disconnection to apply, Access Energy Cooperative must be informed of the deployment prior to disconnection. However, you will still owe Access Energy Cooperative for service used during this time.
- You must be given a written notice at least 12 days before the utility service can be shut off for nonpayment. This notice will include the reason for shutting off your service.
- If you have not made payments required by an agreed-upon payment plan, your service may be disconnected with only one day’s notice.
- Access Energy Cooperative must also try to reach you by telephone or in person before it shuts off your service. From November 1 through April 1, if Access Energy Cooperative cannot reach you by telephone or in person, Access Energy Cooperative will put a written notice on the door of or another conspicuous place at your residence to tell you that your utility service will be shut off.
- Access Energy Cooperative will turn your service back on if you pay the whole amount you owe.
- If you make your payment during regular business hours, or by 7 p.m. for utilities permitting such payment or other arrangements after regular business hours, Access Energy Cooperative must make a reasonable effort to turn your service back on that day. If service cannot reasonably be turned on that same day, Access Energy Cooperative must do it by 11 a.m. the next day.
- Access Energy Cooperative may charge you a fee to turn your service back on. Those fees may be higher in the evening or on weekends, so you may ask that your service be turned on during normal utility business hours.
If Access Energy Cooperative has not been able to help you with your problem, you may contact the Iowa Utilities Board toll-free at 1-877-565-4450.
You may also write the Iowa Utilities Board at 1375 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0069, or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Low-income members may also be eligible for free legal assistance from Iowa Legal Aid and may contact Legal Aid at 1-800-532-1275.