Information on the Minnesota Cold Weather Rule.
The Minnesota state government has established a Cold Weather Rule that will assist customers who can’t afford to pay their gas or heating bill in full. This is only effective during the fall, winter, and spring months, and the goal is to ensure families have some source of heat for their home.
The Minnesota Cold Weather Rule will ensure customers do not have their heating or utility service shut off during the cold weather months, from October 15 - April 15. All utility and gas companies need to participate and offer this program to customers. For those customers that enroll, they need to be willing to enter into a payment plan with their utility company, and they need to continue to make those payments on their account on a monthly basis.
If you are behind on your bill and facing a service disconnection, you should immediately contact your utility company and ask them about this program. There are certain conditions, including customers need to meet income guidelines that are established by the Minnesota Public Utility Commission, and they also need to negotiate a payment plan, and adhere to it.
Also, it is important to note that the Minnesota Cold Weather Rule won’t completely stop winter disconnection’s, but it will provide customers with extra protections and rights from October 15 through April 15 of each year.
For example, in order to avoid service disconnection or to have the service reconnected, you must pay your energy bill in full or you need to call your utility company and enter into a energy bill Payment Plan with them. In addition, you need to make each payment on time and need to keep the Payment Plan during the Cold Weather Rule months in order to continue to prevent a service disconnection.
Details on the payment plan
All customers have the right to enter into and agree to a Payment Plan during the Cold Weather Rule months. To set up a Payment Plan, contact your utility company, ideally before you even fall behind on your bills. If you and the utility company can come to terms on a Payment Plan, and if you continue to make your payments as agreed to, your service will not be shut off during the wintertime. Many energy companies located in Minnesota also administer other conservation and financial assistance programs. Read more on those Minnesota Utility and Heating bill program options.