Minnesota's Energy Assistance Program Helps Homeowners Struggling to Pay Utility Bills

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Minnesota's Energy Assistance Program Helps Homeowners Struggling to Pay Utility Bills

April 26, 2022

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the Minnesota Department of Commerce recently issued a press release urging income-eligible Minnesotans to apply for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program before Cold Weather Rule protections end April 30 to avoid having their utilities disconnected.

“The cold weather this spring is a reminder that Minnesotans, both homeowners and renters, need reliable energy to keep their homes warm and the lights on,” said Katie Sieben, the Chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

“The Energy Assistance Program makes energy affordable for the many Minnesotans who are struggling to pay their utility bills after a long, cold winter,” said Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold. “Funds are still available for thousands more Minnesotans, so if you – or someone you know – needs an energy grant so your utility company does not disconnect your power and lights, apply now so you can keep those critical services for your home.”

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule (CWR) provides special considerations for residential utility customers who have trouble meeting their gas or electric bills between October 1 and April 30. Under the CWR, a homeowner or renter can set up an income-based payment plan with their utility (the utility account must be under the applicant’s name) and be protected from shut off if they keep up with it. However, once the CWR season ends April 30, Minnesota residents with past-due utility bills can be disconnected from heat and power by their utility.

The Energy Assistance Program helps both renters and homeowners to pay for current and past-due bills for electricity, gas, oil, biofuel and propane, emergency fuel delivery, and repair/replacement of homeowners’ broken heating systems. The program also helps pay past-due water and sewer bills.

The Energy Assistance Program Dashboard published by Commerce and updated weekly shows over $131 million has already been paid to more than 103,800 Minnesota households since October 2021. Households have until May 31, 2022, to apply for the Energy Assistance Program this year.


  • Contact your utility, if you haven’t already, to arrange a payment schedule for past-due bills.
  • Apply for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program: Call 800-657-3710 press 1 or go online mn.gov/energyassistance.

Commerce has increased income eligibility, so more Minnesotans qualify than ever before. About one in four Minnesota households are now eligible for energy assistance.

Commerce has also raised the Energy Assistance Program crisis benefit per household. Income-qualified homeowners or renters can now receive up to $3,000 to pay past-due energy bills, to prevent energy disconnections, and to cover costs for emergency fuel deliveries.

The crisis benefits are especially important for households heated by propane or heating oils, who have seen their heating costs increase on average from $1,500 to $2,500 per household. Minnesotans who use propane or heating oils can apply for the Energy Assistance Program to refill their tanks.

With one application to the Energy Assistance Program, households may also qualify for water bill assistance and for the Weatherization Assistance Program, which can permanently reduce household energy costs. Commerce is asking the Minnesota Legislature to fund up to 15,000 more Minnesotans for the Weatherization Assistance Program, to reduce energy costs long-term for those homes and reduce the state’s overall energy infrastructure needs.


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