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Sturgeon Bay Utilities cautions against disconnect as winter moratorium ends

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

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 winter moratorium is fast approaching, and every year we must address this issue with more and more customers,” said Jim Stawicki, General Manager. “It is, however, SBU’s goal to do what we can to collect unpaid bills from the moratorium to keep electric rates low in our community.”

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

According to Stawicki, more than 725 utility customers have overdue bills representing $113,780.00. Despite these figures, nearly 90 percent of customers pay their bills on time each month.

“We understand that situations can arise, making it difficult for customers to pay their bills,” said Stawicki. “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 SBU to make payment arrangements. The utility will negotiate payment options with customers, according to Stawicki. Stawicki also said the utility will issue a final disconnection notice prior to limiting service.

To apply for energy assistance, customers should call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947). Income guidelines for energy assistance have changed from previous years and customers who may not have qualified in the past may be eligible for assistance with utility bill payments. For a family of four to qualify, the total gross income (three months) must be $11,267 or less.

To make payment arrangements or to explore payment options with the utility, call the utility at (920) 746-2820 between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM.

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