Minnesota Energy Resources assistance programs.

Some of the services offered by Minnesota Energy Resources include payment arrangements, weatherization, emergency energy assistance programs, HeatShare, and more. Families who are faced with a crisis, and who meet qualified low income levels, can apply for these and other programs from Minnesota Energy.

The state of Minnesota has created the Cold Weather Rule. This will help protect customers from an illegal shut off during the winter months, and it will help customers keep their natural gas service on when they need it most during the cold. As part of this program, Minnesota Energy Resources customers will be able to enter into a payment plan with the energy provider. If you enter into a plan, and continue making payments on time and stay current with your account, you will be protected from any natural gas service shut off or debt collection activity.

Payment arrangements can be entered into, both online or by calling customer service. This is offered for people who are struggling over a short period of time. It can help individuals get time to bring their account current. Some qualifications include your gas service needs to be active, you can’t be currently on a payment plan to pay off a past-due balance, and you can’t have broken a Minnesota Energy Resources payment plan in the last year or so. Call 800-889-9508.

You need to request this type of arrangement as soon as possible, before you are faced with imminent disconnection. If you enter into a plan, the applicant needs to continue to make the payments on their account. If you do not pay your bills on time then your service can be disconnected and additional reconnect fees will need to be paid.

The terms of the program can also change, but in general about 1/3 of the balance on your account needs to be paid in order to enter into a payment plan with Minnesota Energy Resources. Customers will then normally be provided up to 60 additional days to bring their account current. So the natural gas bills are still due, but people have more time to pay them.





If you call early, the more likely the company can make arrangements with you that work for you and also for Minnesota Energy Resources. If your financial hardship is complicated and extensive, and likely to last for an extended period of time, the company can direct you to other long term options. If your hardship is short term in nature, you are more than likely able to enter into a suitable payment plan.

Minnesota Energy Resources Gas Affordability Program is required by the state and can help with paying utility bills. It is run by the Salvation Army. There are two main services to the program, and they include arrears forgiveness as well as affordability assistance, which is based on a percent of an applicant’s household income.

Another Salvation Army program is HeatShare, which provides energy bill assistance to low-income families and individuals.

The federal government Low Income Energy Assistance Program focuses on paying heating bills. The total grant amount paid out will be based on fuel type, household size, income, and the customer’s energy usage. The EAP program is funded through U.S. Department of Human Services and is open to both renters and homeowners. Applicants with the lowest household income and highest fuel costs receive the most money. The program can also provide crisis help for utility disconnections.

In addition to cash grants, people can also receive tips on how to use home heating energy efficiently and safely. Representatives from this program can also advocate with human service providers and energy suppliers on behalf of utility customers.

Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program is offered for low income customers who use natural gas as a primary fuel for space heating. Government funds are available for weatherizing seniors and low income customers' homes. The federal government as well as Minnesota Energy Resources provides funding to Community Action agencies in order to pay for weatherization and conservation. Qualified customers will receive this service for free. Some of what can be done includes caulking, storm windows and doors, emergency heating system and water heating equipment replacement, side wall and attic insulation, and weather-stripping.

Health issues can be addressed from the Medical Emergency Protection. Customers can qualify for continuance of their gas service or reconnection if the shut off of their service will impair or threaten the safety or health of a member of the household.

Shut-off Protection is also offered for customers or their families who are on Active Duty in the Military. Minnesota Energy Resources customers in which a member of the household (you or spouse) is called to full-time active military service can apply for shut-off protection of your gas or electric service. Their immediate family members can also be protected.

To learn about these or other programs, call Minnesota Energy resources at 800-889-9508.



By Jon McNamara

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