State Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, has reminded residents about Minnesota's cold weather rule, a state statute that protects customers from disconnection of their heat during the winter months.
This option is available for anyone who wants to re-connect their heat or is struggling with a bill.
There are two provisions to the Cold Weather Rule:
• To be reconnected or to stop disconnection during the cold weather rule season, customers must contact their utility company to set up a payment plan.
• Customers must keep that payment plan. Customers can apply regardless of their income, but households with less than 50 percent of median state income ($39,114 for a family of four) will have more payment options. Low income households making some contribution to their heating bills also can take advantage of energy assistance grants and gas and electric discounts that some energy companies offer.
Payment options include budget plans to even out payments for each month's energy bill. If you are already receiving energy assistance, additional proof of income is not necessary. To apply, contact your local utility company. The program opened for applications on Oct. 15, and remains open until the home heating season ends on April 15.
"This year, with so many people unemployed or underemployed, it's even more important to know that help is available," Ward said.
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