For Immediate Release: June 26, 2009
Contact: Bill Walsh (651) 296-7531
Time period for processing applications for energy assistance ends July 2.
(St. Paul) - State energy officials urged families who may still need help paying their energy bills to contact their local energy assistance service provider to apply for energy assistance before the program year ends on July 2, 2009. The federal government doubled the amount of money available for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for this year and there is still money available to help Minnesota families.
So far this year, the state has helped over 150,000 households with heating assistance grants averaging over $500 per household. With the increased funding from the federal government, the state could help even more households this year.
"With summer heat upon us it's important for seniors and families to be caught up on their utility bills so they can stay cool and safe," said Bill Glahn, Director of the Office of Energy Security. "If you or someone you know needs energy assistance, please take the time to contact your local service provider and apply."
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce through 38 local service providers around the state. This program helps low-income customers pay their energy bills through grant money paid directly to the utility company on behalf of the customer.
Customers with less than 50 percent of the state median income ($40,738 for a family of four) may qualify. Households with seniors, disabled, and children are especially encouraged to apply. A list of service providers by county can be found at www.staywarm.mn.gov .
Most utilities offer bill payment options, including budget plans that help even out the payment amount of each month's energy bill. Contact your utility company for more information.
For more information on energy efficiency, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or the Weatherization Assistance Program, contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Info Center:
651-296-5175 or toll free in Minnesota 1-800-657-3710
Other forms of assistance may be available through county social service programs, community based organizations and non-profit agencies such as Heat Share, administered by the Salvation Army.