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If you use propane or heating oil, now is a good time to prep for the heating season

8/15/2018 10:01:48 AM

For Immediate Release

SAINT PAUL – Minnesotans can always hope that cold weather is still months away. But if you depend on propane or heating oil to keep your home warm, now is the time to plan ahead for the fall and winter heating season.

Propane, heating oil and diesel fuel are all potentially susceptible to shortages or price hikes because of high demand during the fall harvest and throughout the winter.

For Minnesotans who rely on propane or heating oil, the Minnesota Commerce Department has these tips:

  • Buy early. Fill up your fuel tanks to minimize the high-demand prices before the fall and winter months. It is usually best to buy during the summer and early fall when there is less demand and prices are generally lower. 
  • Consider a budget plan to spread out the payments. A law signed by Gov. Mark Dayton after a shortage in 2014 requires most propane distributors to offer customers a budget payment plan. Distributors must notify budget-plan customers of price or fee changes that may affect their monthly payment amount by more than 20 percent.
  • Know your rights. The 2014 law also established consumer protections, including transparent pricing. Distributors are required to inform customers of the current per-gallon price and additional charges, fees and discounts. There is also a prohibition on extra fees, such as adding any service, distribution, transportation or other fees to the bills of customers who enter into a contract with the distributor. 
  • Explore energy efficiency options. Programmable thermostats, insulation, high-efficiency appliances and other energy-saving measures help reduce energy use and save money. See the Commerce Department’s Home Energy Guide(.pdf) for ways to make your home more energy efficient.
  • Apply for energy assistance. The state’s Energy Assistance Program is available to help eligible low-income Minnesotans pay their energy bills. Applications will be accepted beginning October 1. Information about /commerce/eap.jspthe Energy Assistance Program is available on the Commerce Department website or by calling 1-800-657-3710. 

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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