Can My Utilities Be Shut Off In The Winter?

The utility cannot switch off the power if the temperature is forecast to be 32 degrees or lower during the winter protection dates or 95 degrees or above at any other time of the year. The utility must give an affidavit to the Commission stating that the disconnect will not put any home members’ health at risk.

Is it possible to switch off the heat in the winter?

The possibility of having your heat shut off when winter tightens its cold grasp can be terrifying.

However, if you are unable to pay your heating or power bills, utilities may be forced to intervene.

Fortunately for those who are most in need, most states have rules prohibiting these firms from turning off the lights. These aren’t, however, blanket safeguards. Typically, legislatures restrict this assistance to the elderly, crippled, and low-income individuals.

Is it possible to turn off utilities in Pennsylvania in the winter of 2021?

Termination in the Winter If you fail to be a responsible utility customer and your household’s income exceeds 250 percent of the federal poverty level (for customers of the Philadelphia Water Department), your utility service can be shut off without the PUC’s prior approval during the winter months (December 1 through March 31).

Is it possible to turn off utilities in New York during Covid?

During the COVID-19 state of emergency, there was a moratorium on utility service shutoffs that concluded on December 21, 2021. New York State, on the other hand, is providing financial support and consumer protections to help clients keep their electric service and pay off their debts.

Is it possible to turn off utilities in Pennsylvania in the winter of 2022?

Under state regulations that ease a moratorium on winter shutoffs, utility companies across Pennsylvania can begin cutting off services for delinquent clients as early as Monday.

“There are still a significant number of at-risk residential and business customers,” said Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, “despite the fact that the number of accounts in arrears has continued to improve since peaking during the height of the covid pandemic.” Between December 1 and March 31, the PUC enables utilities to terminate income-qualified households only if they acquire special permission, such as in situations of fraud or meter tampering.

Although low-income customers can have their service turned off for failing to pay their heating and electric bills as early as April 1, the PUC does not allow shut-offs on Fridays.

According to Katherine Scholl, the company’s director of billing and revenue management, Duquesne Light has around 95,000 customers who are overdue on their bills and are in danger of losing electricity. When deciding which business and residential customers will be switched off, the utility normally considers the amount owing and the length of time in arrears, she added.

According to Todd Meyers, a spokesman for Greensburg-based West Penn Power, the firm has “tens of thousands of residential customers who are overdue on their bills and are in danger of being disconnected.” Many consumers on the verge of losing electricity to their homes may be helped by contacting the firm for help and working out a payment plan, he said.

According to a Universal Service Programs & Collections Performance report submitted with the PUC, there are slightly more West Penn Power customers with financial problems than there were in 2020, when 60,000 of the utility’s 600,000 residential customers were in debt.

Terminations were dramatically reduced in the covid-restricted year of 2020, according to the same report. According to the report, none of the four utilities cut off service to low-income customers whose household income was at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level that year.

According to Barry Kukovich, a company spokesman, Peoples Gas Co. has about the same number of customers that may have their natural gas service disrupted as in prior years.

The number of Columbia Gas customers facing termination is unknown, according to the company.

“Terminating service is always a last step,” said Lee Gierczynski, a Columbia representative, adding that the consumer can contact Columbia for possible bill payment assistance.

Before turning off service, the PUC has a series of rules for utilities to follow, including mailing a letter to the customer and attempting to contact them by phone, according to Gierczynski.

Customers who were overdue on their accounts received letters in February alerting them that their service could be turned off, according to Duquesne Light’s Scholl.

What is the minimum temperature for a house?

Residents favored a wintertime heater setting between 67 F and 70 F (19 C to 21 C), according to a detailed research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Department of Energy suggests a winter heat setting of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), which is quite close to the temperatures most of us are used to.

However, if you ask ten people what the optimal winter setting for their home thermostat is, you’re likely to hear ten different responses. Let’s look at how to figure out which winter heater setting is best for you and how to recognize when something isn’t working properly.

Excessive Heating

Excessive heating (over 72F or 22C) wastes energy and results in astronomically expensive utility bills. Heating your home to higher temperatures reduces the relative humidity (RH), which dries out everything from your skin to your floor’s wood. A good, affordable home environment system will help you regulate the RH between 30 and 60 percent, which is the ideal range.

Dry conditions in your home can further enhance the risk of fire, especially if you have a fireplace or other open flame source. Furthermore, mucus membranes that have dried out in your nose or eyes make it simpler for bacteria and viruses to enter your body. That’s not good!

High Humidity

Though you’ll want to avoid warming your home and drying up the air, utilizing a humidifier to combat dryness has its own set of issues. Because humidified air is more difficult to heat than dry air, you’ll have to use more energy to keep your home warm if you use a humidifier. Excess moisture (over 60% relative humidity) can cause condensation on windows and mold growth in ducting, around windows, and other areas, aggravating allergies. The ideal option is to have a humidifier installed into your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.

What Temperature is Too Cold for a House?

While everyone’s tolerance for cold varies, recommended winter heat settings should be at or above 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius). Excessive cold (below 62 F/16 C) in your home might actually boost your blood pressure since your blood “thickens” in the cold. A cool house is more likely to be moist, which can lead to mold and mildew growth, as well as mold getting into your air vents. Allergies can be aggravated much more by these situations. Older people are more susceptible to cold, so be careful not to dial the heat down too low, as hypothermia can occur in the comfort of your own home.

When you go on vacation, how cold can you go?

The general consensus is that your thermostat should be set to 55 degrees or above at all times. If you go below this temperature, your pipes will freeze.

Set the thermostat 4 degrees lower than normal if you have a pet living with you in Raleigh while you’re gone. If you generally set your thermostat to 70 degrees in the winter, put it to 66 degrees while you’re away. This is plenty to save electricity without putting your cat or dog in the cold.

Is it possible to turn off your gas?

If you contact your supplier and agree to repay your debt at a reasonable pace, whether through instalments, Fuel Direct, or a prepayment meter, you should be able to avoid being disconnected. Before your supply is interrupted, you must be asked if you want a prepayment meter and if it is safe to install one.

Landlord not paid the bill

Your landlord may cover the cost of your home’s gas and electricity. If your supplier is threatening to cut off your supply because the landlord has not paid the bill, contact your local council or the Citizens Advice consumer helpline. Through their local welfare aid scheme, your local municipality may be able to assist you in avoiding disconnection or restoring your energy supply.

Preventing disconnection winter months

Certain gas and electricity-related operations require a license, which is overseen by Ofgem. Licences contain terms and conditions that licensees must follow. During the winter months, which are October, November, December, January, February, and March, the license conditions protect specific groups of clients.

If you are a domestic client, Standard Licence Condition 27 specifies that your supplier shall not disconnect you during the winter months if you are:

If you are a domestic customer, Standard Licence Condition 27 additionally stipulates that your supplier must take all reasonable steps to prevent disconnecting you during the winter months if you are:

If your energy provider is threatening to disconnect your service and you belong to one of these groups, contact your energy provider right once. The Citizens Advice consumer helpline can also assist you. Details can be found in the section “Useful Contacts.”

Preventing disconnection Energy UK Vulnerability Commitment

The Energy UK Vulnerability Commitment provides further protection against disconnection for vulnerable consumers. If your provider has signed the Vulnerability Commitment, they will not disconnect you knowingly if:

  • if you have children under the age of six (or under the age of sixteen from October to March); or if you have children under the age of six (or under the age of sixteen from October to March); or if you have children under the age of
  • Due to your age, health, disability, or extreme financial insecurity, you are unable to protect your personal welfare or the personal welfare of other members of your household.

Check to check if your provider is a member of the Vulnerability Commitment, as not all do. Tell your supplier that you are vulnerable and need an inexpensive way to pay for your energy supply if you qualify for the Commitment’s protections. If you haven’t already, request to be included to the supplier’s Priority Services Register.

Time limits

  • If you don’t pay your energy bill within 28 days of the bill’s due date, your supplier may take action that could result in disconnection.
  • If you fail to pay an agreed-upon instalment, your provider can only take action after 28 working days have passed after the payment was missed.

Last resort

Gas and electricity suppliers are unable to turn off your service unless they have first provided you a variety of payment options. They can only turn off your power as a last option, and they must give you advance warning.

  • Electricity suppliers are required to give you seven working days’ notice in writing before disconnecting your power because you have not paid your bill.
  • Because you have not paid your payment, gas suppliers must give you seven days’ notice in writing before disconnecting your gas supply.

If your supplier threatens to disconnect your service, contact your local council and the Citizens Advice consumer helpline. Through their local welfare aid scheme, your local municipality may be able to assist you in avoiding disconnection or restoring your energy supply.

Consider contacting your local social services department for assistance with your energy payments if you have children. Inform your supplier that you have contacted social services, as they are required to hold off on cutting you off while social services investigates your case. They will normally postpone action for 14 working days, but may agree to extend the time limit. This may give you enough time to work out a payment plan. The Children Act 1989 empowers social agencies to offer payments to families with children in need in specific circumstances.

It’s critical that you negotiate a deal before your service is disconnected, because repaying your existing debt will be far less expensive than paying for reconnection.

Disputed debt

If you have a real disagreement with your energy or gas bill, your supplier should not cut off your service. If your energy company threatens to disconnect your supply, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline for assistance challenging your account. Details can be found in the Useful contacts section.

Old debt and new address

If you have moved, you cannot be disconnected for a gas or electricity account from an old address. However, unless you make arrangements to clear your debt with the same supplier, you may have difficulty getting an energy supply in your new house from them. For your new address, you may need to utilize a different supplier.

Entry into your home

If you do not reach an agreement to pay your debt, your supplier might get a warrant from the magistrates’ court, allowing them to enter your home and disconnect your energy connection. They will generally inform you of the date and time of the magistrates’ court hearing. If you want to stop the warrant, you should call a local advice organization to see if you may get assistance during the hearing.

Even now, before you or your agent go to court, you can contact your supplier and make an affordable repayment offer. If you must go to court, bring copies of your budget to present to the judge and your supplier as evidence of your offer. Take whatever evidence you want to offer as well. This could include details such as:

  • the impact a disconnect would have on your family, particularly youngsters, the elderly, and those who are unwell;

If you don’t have a lawyer, you can bring a buddy to court to represent you. Explain why you need them to speak for you before the magistrate, and request that your buddy be allowed to address the court directly on your behalf. The magistrate will decide whether or not to allow your friend to speak directly to the court. If the magistrate refuses to let your friend talk to them directly, they will normally let your friend speak quietly to you, take notes for you, and provide you advise.

If the court grants the warrant, your supplier must give you seven days’ notice (gas) or seven working days’ notice (electricity) before they can enter and disconnect your supply using the warrant. Your provider is more likely to offer to install a prepayment meter rather than disconnect your service. Consider whether Fuel Direct is a better alternative for you than a prepaid meter if you receive benefits. Make an offer you can afford, as stated in the previous section.

Is it possible to turn off the electricity in New York during the winter?

During the COVID-19 state of emergency, there was a moratorium on utility service shutoffs that concluded on December 21, 2021. New York State, on the other hand, is providing financial support and consumer protections to help clients keep their electric service and pay off their debts.