Customers falling behind on utility bills encouraged to make payment arrangements or apply for assistance

Public Utilities Commission

With the moratorium on utility disconnections no longer in effect, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) wants consumers to be aware of their options for assistance in paying their energy bills.

To avoid disconnection, customers who have fallen behind in their payments are encouraged to contact their electric or gas utility. Information about how to contact the utility can be found on the customer’s bill, the utility’s website or the PUC’s website at tinyurl.com/yxf7q3aj.

Most utilities will work with customers who are having difficulties in paying their bills to make payment arrangements, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment arrangements can spread payments across multiple months, giving customers the opportunity to become current.

Residential customers of investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Black Hills Energy, Atmos Energy, Colorado Natural Gas) also may prevent a shutoff by providing the utility company a “medical certification” from a doctor, or health practitioner acting under a doctor’s supervision, stating that disconnecting service would be especially dangerous to the health or safety of the customer or a permanent resident of the customer’s household.

If a medical certification is given to the company, no shut off of service will occur for up to 90 days from the date of the certificate. A medical certificate can delay a disconnection for no more than 90 days during any consecutive 12-month period.

If customers cannot reach an agreement with their utility, they may contact the PUC consumer affairs unit for assistance at (303) 894-2070 or by filing a complaint via the PUC website.

If a customer is having difficulty paying their energy bill or receives a disconnection notice, they may be eligible for assistance from Colorado’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) or Energy Outreach Colorado. To determine eligibility or to apply online, go to the Colorado Department of Human Services website or call (866) HEAT-HELP [(866) 432-8435] to apply over the phone.

Energy Outreach Colorado, a nonprofit organization, provides payment assistance beyond that offered by the utilities and LEAP to help customers with their energy costs. For information, visit: https://www.energyoutreach.org/programs-for-individuals/bill-payment-assistance/.

This story was posted on August 15, 2020.