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New Richmond Utilities reminds customers of moratorium's end

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New Richmond Utilities is advising electric customers who are behind on their bills to make payment arrangements with the utility to avoid service disconnection.

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Wisconsin's Winter Emergency Period, often referred to as the moratorium on residential service disconnection, ends April 15.

After that date, utilities statewide may begin to disconnect service to customers who are past due on payment of their electric bills for any period of time, including the winter months.

"The end of the winter moratorium on disconnections is fast approaching," said Nancy Petersen, utility finance and accounting manager. "Unpaid bills drive up costs for the whole community. It is New Richmond Utilities' goal to do what we can to collect unpaid bills and to help customers avoid service disruptions for nonpayment."

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin established the annual moratorium -- from Nov. 1 to April 15 -- to protect customers from service disconnection during harsh Wisconsin winters.

"We understand that situations can arise, making it difficult for customers to pay their bills," Petersen said. "However, to avoid disconnection, we are urging customers to make the appropriate payment arrangements. We would like to help these customers make suitable arrangements to avoid shutting off their service."

Customers can call New Richmond Utilities to make payment arrangements. The utility will negotiate payment options with customers, according to Petersen. Petersen also said the utility will issue a final disconnection notice prior to limiting service.

To apply for energy assistance, customers should call the St Croix County Economic Support Department at 715-246-8257. Under the eligibility requirements, customers at or below 60 percent of the state's median income may qualify for WHEAP assistance, including: a single person earning up to $24,282 per year; a family of four with an annual income of up to $46,697.

On Friday, April 12, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. staff from the Economic Support Department will be at the New Richmond Civic Center to assist with and accept applications for assistance.

To make payment arrangements or to explore payment options with the utility, call the utility at 715-246-4167 between 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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