Home Energy +
The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) administers the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Public Benefits Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP and its related services help approximately 230,000 Wisconsin households annually. In addition to regular heating and electric assistance, specialized services include:
- Emergency fuel assistance
- Counseling for energy conservation and energy budgets
- Pro-active co payment plans
- Targeted outreach services
- Emergency furnace repair and replacement
Services are provided locally through:
- County social services offices
- Tribal governments
- Private non-profit or other government agencies
For more information on WHEAP, call (866) HEATWIS (432-8947).
Can the utility company shut off my heat in the winter?
In Wisconsin, the utility company cannot shut off your heat between November 1 and March 15 if:
- Your household income is 250% of the federal poverty level or less
- AND shutting off your heat would create a health or safety problem
If your family income is over the limit OR the utility company can show it will not jeopardize health or safety, the utility company may shut off your heat in the winter if it follows the rules for disconnecting gas and electricity.
What kind of notice must the utility company give?
Before shutting off your gas/water/electricity, the utility company must send or give to you a notice telling you:
- The date when service can be shut off
- The reason for the shut-off
- How to contact the utility about the shut-off
The utility company must mail the notice at least eight days before water shut-off, and at least ten days before disconnecting gas or electricity. If the mailing and service addresses are different, the utility company must also post a notice at the service address. If service is not shut off within 15 days (for water) or 20 days (for gas or electricity) after the notice is mailed, the utility must post a new notice between 24 and 48 hours before the shut off.
Note: families DO NOT have to pay off their outstanding bill in full in order to continue receiving services. They simply have to contact the utility company when they receive their first bill and set up a payment program. Even if they can only pay $20/month, the utility company will not (cannot) threaten to disconnect services. If you receive calls from families telling you their entire bill must be paid or they will lose services, inform them of the aforementioned information.