Winter is coming, but the good news is help is on the way for Minnesotans who might otherwise struggle to keep the heat on as temps drop.
Driving the news: Minnesota's "Cold Weather Rule," which prevents utilities from shutting off electric or natural gas service from October through April, takes effect Friday/today.
- This year's Oct. 1 start date is two weeks earlier than previous years.
The catch: Protections aren't automatic. If you or someone you know is worried about keeping up with your bills, call your provider and request a Cold Weather Rule (CWR) payment plan.
Between the lines: Concerns that climate change is leading to cold snaps hitting earlier in the fall — and later in the spring — prompted state lawmakers to extend the program 15 days in each direction.
Another change: The income eligibility limit for a state program that helps Minnesotans pay those bills has been raised to 60% of the state's median income level.
- That means a family of four that takes in $67,765 or less a year can qualify for up to $1,600 for upcoming energy bills or $1,200 for past-due balances.
- For a single person, the max income is $35,237.
Need help? The Department of Commerce has more information, including applications and eligibility guidelines.
Of note: Both the rule and the program are open to both renters and homeowners.
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