MINNEAPOLIS — The temps are already dropping across Minnesota, which can mean trouble for people who struggle to pay their heating bills. Thanks to state law a program is in place to keep everyone warm over the winter, and this year it starts on Saturday, Oct.1.
Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule is in effect from Oct. 1 to April 30 every year, and it prevents power companies from disconnecting service if doing so would affect the primary heating source in a customer's home.
To be covered by this statute, customers need to set up and keep a monthly payment plan with their provider. one of which is Minnesota Power. Without the payment plan and an agreement to make payments on time, customers will not be protected by the Cold Weather Rule, according to information provided by Minnesota Power.
“We know some of our customers are facing challenging financial times and we’re here to help provide options for managing their electric bills,” said Tina Koecher, director of Customer Experience Operations in a statement. “As the weather turns colder, we want to ensure customers avoid any interruption to their service, so it’s important to be aware of the state’s Cold Weather Rule, which protects eligible residential customers from service disconnection.”
If you receive a shut-off notice this winter, contact Minnesota Power as soon as possible at (800) 228-4966. You can also find more information on the company's website, here.
Consumers are warned to be wary of scam phone calls threatening to shut off their power. Minnesota Power will never call anyone demanding immediate payment and does not ask for credit or debit account numbers over the phone.
If you think you may have been a victim of a scammer, call Minnesota Power at (800) 228-4966.
Xcel Energy, Minnesota's largest energy provider, also has information on the Cold Weather Rule on its website, adding that Income eligible customers are not required to pay more than 10% of their household income each month toward their energy bill.
Anyone struggling to pay their electric or gas bills is encouraged to apply for help through Minnesota Power's Customer Affordability of Residential Electricity, or CARE program.
The Salvation Army HeatShare program is another resource available to Minnesotans who may be having a tough time making ends meet.
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