4/10/2015 10:14:43 AM
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 haven’t done so already. While applications will be taken until June 1, funding is limited and may run out before that date, so residents should apply as soon as possible. To apply, call 1-800-657-3710 or visit the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program.
“I encourage seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and families with children to apply for Energy Assistance to make sure that everyone stays warm while we make it through the spring,” said Rothman. “Funds remain available on a first-come, first-served basis so those who qualify should apply now to make sure they can secure the help they need.”
Rothman also encourages Minnesotans who are struggling with heating costs to contact their utility now to establish and maintain a monthly payment plan. Keeping the monthly payment plan current will protect a household from disconnection during the Cold Weather Rule season, October 15, 2015 through April 15, 2016. 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, email email@example.com or call 651-296-0406 or 800-657-3782.
The Commerce Department administers EAP 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 ($44,912 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.
To apply for EAP, contact the local service provider in your county by calling 1-800-657-3710 or visit the Minnesota 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.
For more information, visit the Division of Energy Resources website or contact the Division of Energy Resources Energy Information Center by phone (651-539-1886 or 800-657-3710) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.