MidAmerican Encourages Customer Donations to Help Struggling Families
For more information, contact:
Ann Thelen, Director of Media Relations, at 515-281-2785
Tina Potthoff, Media Relations Manager, at 515-281-2585
DES MOINES, Iowa – (March 26, 2007) – Extremely cold weather at the beginning of February resulted in an average MidAmerican Energy residential customer natural gas bill of $180, the highest average monthly home heating bill of the 2006-2007 heating season.
Despite February’s bill, heating costs for the average MidAmerican Energy residential customer are projected to be approximately $50 lower compared to the previous winter – $761 vs. $813 – based on normal weather. The decline is the result of mild winter weather overall and a lower price for natural gas.
To help families who are unemployed, living on fixed or low incomes or experiencing a family crisis, MidAmerican Energy is calling on customers to make a donation to the I CARE assistance program. The I CARE program helps families pay their heating bills or make their homes more energy efficient. For every dollar customers donate, MidAmerican Energy donates 25 cents. In 2006, customer donations of $295,000, combined with MidAmerican Energy’s $74,000 matching donation, resulted in more than $368,000 for community action agencies to distribute to families who need help paying their home energy bills, (see attached chart for agency specific assistance received).
To qualify for assistance, customers must meet their state’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program guidelines. “I CARE helps reduce the burden of heating costs on our most vulnerable customers,” said Todd Raba, president of MidAmerican Energy.
MidAmerican Energy encourages Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program-eligible customers who are concerned about their inability to pay their home energy bill when the winter disconnection moratorium expires at the end of March to call MidAmerican Energy.
“We work with customers to identify whether they’re eligible for a payment agreement and what assistance is available, because disconnection always is the last resort after all other options have been exhausted,” said Terry Ousley, director of customer service for MidAmerican Energy.
Customers can make contributions to I CARE anytime by simply adding $1, $2, $3, $4 or $5 (whole dollar amounts only) to their monthly MidAmerican Energy bill. The overpayment automatically will be applied to I CARE. Donations greater than $5 can be made by filling out a pledge form on MidAmerican’s Web site or by calling MidAmerican toll free at 888-427-5632.
MidAmerican Energy reminds customers that the company does not own or produce natural gas, but buys natural gas and supplies it to customers at cost. MidAmerican passes the cost of natural gas on to its customers dollar for dollar with no markup, and the company has not had a rate increase on its charge for delivering natural gas since 2001.
The last electric rate increase MidAmerican Energy customers experienced was in 1995, and the company has promised to not increase its Iowa electric rates – the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity – through at least 2010. Also, the company does not have any plans to increase electric rates in Illinois or South Dakota.