Winter Right Around the Corner; How Low-Income Residents Can Prepare

By KBJR News 1

Winter Right Around the Corner; How Low-Income Residents Can Prepare

October 4, 2012 Updated Oct 4, 2012 at 12:21 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- It's hard to believe, but snow has come to Northern Minnesota and that means it is only going to get colder across our region.

That is why the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Public Utilities Commission is encouraging low-income Minnesotans to ask about Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule and to apply for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) through their local service providers.

EAP is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program helps renters and homeowners earning less than 50% of the state’s median income ($42,789 for a family of four) obtain grant money to help pay their heating bills.

“Now is the time to remember that winter temperatures are not only cold, but they can be very dangerous,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Our Energy Assistance Program serves as a safety net offering financial assistance to low-income Minnesotans, particularly households with seniors, disabled residents, children, and veterans."

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule takes effect on October 15th and protects residential utility customers from having their heat shut off through April 15th, 2013.

But to prevent heating disconnection, customers must contact their utility to set up a monthly payment plan.

The Cold Weather Rule requires local utility companies to offer home heating shut off protection to customers who call their utility and set up a payment plan in exchange for keeping their heat on through April 15th.

Households that need to reconnect their heat for this winter are encouraged to call their utility company soon to take advantage of these payment options.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns