~ from Hennepin County News
This year, Minnesotans can get greater financial assistance and protections to keep their homes warm and lights on through Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program and Minnesota’s cold weather rule.
More Minnesotans qualify for the Energy Assistance Program. The Energy Assistance Program helps Minnesota households pay for current and past-due bills for electricity, gas, oil, biofuel and propane, emergency fuel delivery, and repair/replacement of homeowners’ broken heating systems, and could also cover water and sewer bills.
More than 600,000 Minnesota households are income-eligible for energy assistance. The Federal Department of Commerce raised the income eligibility limit to 60% of Minnesota’s median income levels ($67,765 per year for a family of four) and is significantly increasing benefit amounts to reduce energy burdens more than ever, including up to $1,600 for energy bills plus up to $1,200 for past-due energy bills.
By submitting one application through the Energy Assistance Program, households could qualify for payments to cover both water and energy bills and qualify them for the Minnesota Weatherization Program. Weatherization helps households with home improvements to conserve energy and lower their energy costs permanently.
Apply: Request an application or find your local service provider at mn.gov/energyassistance or call 800-657-3710 and press “1.”
The cold weather rule goes into effect earlier and lasts later because of concerns that Minnesota’s changing climate was leading to cold spells earlier in fall and later in spring. Minnesota’s cold weather rule now protects residential utility customers from having electric or natural gas service shut off between Oct. 1 and April 30.
For more information or assistance, see the PUC “Shutoff Protection” information or call the PUC’s Consumer Affairs Office at 651-296-0406. To apply, contact your natural gas or electric company and request a cold weather rule payment plan.