Oct 1, 2021 - News

Need help with your heating bills? These Minnesota programs can help

Illustration of a thermometer in the shape of Minnesota registering 30 degrees.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

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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