Minnesota consumers with specific needs have access, through the Commerce Department and other agencies, to a wide range of services to assist with energy costs, telecommunications services, insurance coverage and banking.
The Energy Assistance Program
- The Energy Assistance Program helps low-income Minnesotans pay their utility bills during the winter months. The Cold Weather Rule protects residential utility consumers from having their heat shut off during the cold weather period from October 15 to April 15.
- The Weatherization Assistance Program provides energy-related residential improvements that allow income-eligible homeowners and renters to save energy and reduce their utility bills.
- Minnesota Relay offers a free service that allows an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled to communicate over the telephone in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of an individual who does not have hearing loss or a speech disability.
- The Telephone Equipment Distribution Program provides telephone equipment to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, speech impaired or have a physical disability and need adaptive equipment in order to use the phone.
- The federal Lifeline and state Telephone Assistance Plan programs provide monthly telephone service discounts on one landline or wireless telephone per household.
Insurance & Financial
- Minnesota FAIR Plan offers limited property insurance coverage for residential and commercial property owners in Minnesota who are unable to obtain coverage in the private insurance market.
- Minnesota Automobile Insurance Plan makes auto insurance coverage available to Minnesotans who are unable to obtain coverage in the voluntary insurance market at a premium lower than that available under the plan.
- Minnesota law requires that every bank and credit union offer a Lifeline Savings Account to Minnesota residents that has no service charge or fee, as long as the account has an average monthly balance of more than $50.