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26,000 behind on heating bills

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin Public Service said Wednesday that as of February 2014, nearly 26,000 of its customers were four months or more behind on their utility bills. Customers could face disconnection of their utility service after April 15, 2014 unless they make prior payments or arrangements.

State law bars utilities from disconnecting residential service from November 1 to April 15 annually. WPS reports that the number of customers past due is slightly higher than last year but the amount they owe is substantially higher because of the colder winter. Residential customers who have not qualified as low income and have not paid during the winter also face paying a security deposit equal to their highest four consecutive bills.

WPS currently holds security deposits of more than $2.6 million from more than 3,000 customers.