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Minnesota’s Energy Assistance crisis benefit increases to $3,000 per household to help pay utility bills

Energy Assistance funding is available for thousands more Minnesotans to apply

3/31/2022 12:17:55 PM

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has raised the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program crisis benefit per household. Income-qualified homeowners or renters can now receive up to $3,000 to pay past-due energy bills, to prevent energy disconnections, and to cover costs for emergency fuel deliveries. The crisis benefit had been $1,200.  This grant is in addition to up to $2,000 in non-crisis benefits that households can qualify for.  

“We increased the crisis benefit to make energy costs more affordable for Minnesotans who have seen their energy bills rise significantly this winter,” said Michael Schmitz, director for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program, which is administered by the Department of Commerce through a network of local community service providers. “If you are behind on your energy bill, you may qualify for up to $3,000 in help. 

“The crisis benefits will be especially important for households heated by propane or heating oils, who have seen their heating costs increase on average from $1,500 to $2,500 per household,” Schmitz added. “Minnesotans who use propane or heating oils can apply for the Energy Assistance Program to refill their tanks.” 

Energy Assistance funding is available for thousands more Minnesotans and is open for applications through May 31, 2022.  Minnesota received more than $167 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in 2021 for the Energy Assistance Program, which more than doubled the annual amount.    

With one application to the Energy Assistance Program, households may also qualify for water bill assistance and for the Weatherization Assistance Program, which can permanently reduce household energy costs.  Commerce is asking the Minnesota Legislature to fund up to 15,000 more Minnesotans for the Weatherization Assistance Program, to reduce energy costs long-term for those homes and reduce the state’s overall energy infrastructure needs. 

ENERGY ASSISTANCE AND CRISIS BENEFITS SUMMARY 

The /commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/energy-assistance/dashboards.jspEnergy Assistance Program Dashboard published by Commerce shows crisis benefits already paid to Minnesota households:  Emergency Assistance has already: 

  • Prevented more than 10,000 households from having their heat/power disconnected
  • Provided 8,150 households with emergency heating fuel deliveries, and
  • Covered costs for 4,366 households to receive emergency furnace repairs

The dashboard, which is updated weekly, shows over $112 million has already been paid to more than 92,000 Minnesota households since October 2021.

Minnesotans who have already qualified for Energy Assistance Program grants this year may be eligible for this additional amount of crisis money and should contact their local service provider about additional crisis benefits. 

The Energy Assistance Program helps people who own or rent their homes to 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. 

How to apply:  To request an application or find your local service provider: 

  • Search online for “Minnesota energy assistance” 
  • Go online:  mn.gov/energyassistance 
  • Call 800-657-3710 and press 1 

Get updates and news from the Minnesota Department of Commerce by following Commerce on FacebookTwitter or by subscribing to our news email list.

MEDIA CONTACT: 
Mo Schriner, Communications Director
Minnesota Department of Commerce
mo.schriner@state.mn.us 

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