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State moratorium on heat shut-offs ends

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Superior Wisconsin 1226 Ogden Ave. Ste. 1 54880

Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio

It's the “day of reckoning” for those who haven't paid their utility bills this winter: The state's moratorium on heat shut-offs ended at midnight on Tuesday.

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State law forbids gas and electric companies from shutting off residential service from Nov. 1 to midnight on April 15.

Wisconsin Public Service covers much of the northeastern part of the state. Kerry Spees, a WPS spokesman, says 22,000 households face shutoff. Spees also says that because of the lingering cold, the utility is holding off for now.

“It is cold today and the forecast is for cold tonight,” said Spees. “So we are not disconnecting residential customers today. We haven't made a decision as to whether tomorrow or the next day.”

Spees says the 22,000 delinquencies figure is comparable to years past, but he says those who haven't kept pace with their bills owe more.

“The biggest impact was in the amount they owe,” said Spees. “Because it was such a brutal winter, the bills were higher this winter. So we're finding customers that are behind a considerable sum.”

WPS won't release the amount of outstanding bills.

Other utilities are seeing the same situation. We Energies serves southeastern Wisconsin, where 6,000 of its customers also face shutoff.

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