Last year was a tough one for many residents across Wisconsin. If you count yourself among them, you may have felt some relief after finding out that the state put a moratorium in place dictating that utility companies would have to wait before disconnecting your heat or water services.
Initially, Wisconsin Public Radio reports, the disconnection ban was to block utility shutoffs until sometime in March of 2021. However, the state has since extended this ban through mid-April.
Current utility disconnection rules and guidelines
Right now, there is a ban in place preventing Wisconsin utility companies from disconnecting your services for non-payment until April 15. While utility companies may not disconnect your services before this date, they are able to assess late fees against your account. They were not allowed to do so between March 24, 2020, and July 14, 2020. However, now they may do so again.
If utility companies do assess late fees on your account, they may do so via either a one-time 3% charge or a recurring 1% late fee on each monthly bill.
Current scams surrounding utility disconnections
Scammers are counting on you and others not knowing the rules about utility disconnections. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says it fielded about 40 reports of scams relating to utility disconnections within the last two years.
Wisconsin has long had a rule in place preventing electricity and gas disconnections during the summer months. However, no such protection exists in the springtime except for the current moratorium that ends April 15.