Can the Utility Company Turn Off My HVAC?

Utah’s coldest month is January, according to weather.com, and you depend heavily on your HVAC system to keep warm, safe and comfortable. Whether you have a heater or a boiler, with temperatures averaging around 30 degrees, heat isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

However, if you don’t have an energy-efficient HVAC system, good home insulation or a solid source of income, worrying about how to pay your heating bill is common. Luckily, the Utah provides residents with some HVAC protections.

As part of the state’s HEAT (Home Energy Assistance Target) program, there’s a moratorium, or shut-off protection rule. If you or your family is eligible, your HVAC cannot be turned off between Nov. 15 and March 15. However, you will have to work with your utility company and come up with a payment plan. The moratorium is offered by all utility companies governed by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

How Do I Qualify?

Eligible homes require that the applicant be 18+ and also the account holder, their spouse, or another adult resident. The applicant has to live at the address during the HVAC moratorium request period, and they must provide the heat termination notice.

You might also qualify if you’ve been refused service and/or if the utility is currently not active. All applicants must also apply for the full HEAT program.

Applicants 60+ and/or those who are disabled or have a disabled child at home must apply for utility assistance via the American Red Cross. Most importantly, all applicants have to make a good-faith effort to pay their heating bill regularly, even during the moratorium. However, payment plans under the moratorium are usually much more manageable than regular heating bills. Your utility company wants to work with you.

ARC Assistance

The American Red Cross (ARC) offers a number of assistance programs which vary based on the state. In Utah, ARC partners with Questar Gas to offer utility assistance via grants. It’s part of the REACH (Residential Energy Assistance) program and is reserved for those over 60, the disabled or other struggling families.

You might also consider the local Catholic Community Services of Utah branch, which offers utility assistance January through September (you do not need to be Catholic or a member of any church to qualify).

Don’t qualify for any of these programs? You can still lower your HVAC bills with some savviness. Choose a moderate temperature setting, utilize window treatments (makeshift curtains work in a pinch) to increase insulation and close off rooms that aren’t being used. Maintain your HVAC system to prevent serious damage and to ensure it’s working to the best of its ability.

Get more tips on HVAC maintenance by calling Roberts Mechanical today, and schedule your winter maintenance check.