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Energy assistance for low-income Minnesotans still available

4/1/2016 1:42:30 PM

Cold Weather Rule protection ends April 15

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN – The Cold Weather Rule that protects Minnesotans from natural gas or electricity shut-off will end on April 15. But as we all know, that date does not always mean the end of the heating season in Minnesota.

To keep the heat on through the spring, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman urges low-income residents who need help paying their utility bills to apply for the state’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP) and establish a payment plan with their utility if they have not done so already. EAP applications will be taken until May 31, and households are served on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply, call 1-800-657-3710 or visit the /commerce/eap.jspMinnesota Energy Assistance Program on the Commerce website.

“I encourage seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and families with children to apply for Energy Assistance to make sure that everyone can afford their heating while we make it through the spring,” said Rothman. “Funds remain available, so those who may qualify should apply now to make sure they can secure the help they need.”

Act now to avoid disconnection

Rothman also encourages Minnesotans who are struggling with heating costs to contact their utility now to establish and maintain a monthly Cold Weather Rule payment plan. Keeping the monthly payment plan current will protect a household from disconnection during the Cold Weather Rule season, October 15 through April 15. 

To be eligible for the Cold Weather Rule, customers must contact their utility to work out a payment plan and they must make those payments. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) administers the Cold Weather Rule. For more information on the rule, visit the PUC website, email consumer.puc@state.mn.us or call 651-296-0406 or 800-657-3782.

Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program

The Commerce Department administers the Energy Assistance Program in partnership with 31 local service providers in the state. The program helps renters and homeowners earning at or below 50 percent of the state’s median income ($46,056 for a family of four) obtain grant money to help pay their heating bills. Energy assistance funds go directly to the utility company on behalf of eligible households. The average annual grant per household is about $500.

How to apply for Energy Assistance

To apply for energy assistance, contact the local service provider in your county by calling 1-800-657-3710 or visit the /commerce/eap.jspMinnesota Energy Assistance Program. Minnesota consumers using delivered fuels such as fuel oil, propane, or wood to heat their homes are eligible for EAP grants even though they are not covered by the Cold Weather Rule. EAP is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

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