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Utility bill and energy assistance programs in Minnesota.

Low income families can get financial assistance in Minnesota for paying utility, electric and heating bills. Various programs are offered directly by the companies that operate in the state, including payment plans or grants to help with energy bills. Customers have other options as well.

There are non-profits and government low income energy bill assistance programs that operate in Minnesota as well, with a focus on seniors or the disabled. Free energy conservation measures can also help weatherize a home. Or get help with paying heating, electric, or light bills from charities that provide financial aid and also free energy conservation programs.

Statewide Minnesota programs offered by government agencies

Government assistance from EAP grants or weatherization - Low income families can get help from the federal government and state of Minnesota. The primary resources are weatherization, LIHEAP, and/or the Energy Assistance Program (EAP). Cash grants and other financial aid is disbursed. Find more details on EAP and weatherization in Minnesota.

  • Additional assistance for LIHEAP customers - All natural investor-owned gas utilities that operate in the state of Minnesota need to provide a Gas Affordability Program which reduces natural gas utility payments from participants to no more than 6 percent of their total household income. The assistance is provided for LIHEAP individuals. To apply, customers need to contact their utility provider.

HeatShare - This is a program of last resort. It provides money and cash grants to help pay oil, natural gas, propane, wood, and electricity bills to those in need. The statewide MN program can help prevent a disconnection of power. HeatShare will also help with emergency furnace repairs. Read more on HeatShare.

Minnesota Energy Resources – This is a program that is offered across the state, and it may be able to provide low-income households with energy conserving measures, and they may be eligible for a variety of weatherization improvements, measures, or updates such as extra insulation, caulking, heating unit tune ups or repairs, weather-stripping and storm windows and doors. Customers of the program need to meet federal government low income or poverty guidelines of 185 percent. To learn more or to apply for the program, please contact the community action agency in your local town or county.




The phone numbers include: Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Council (Virginia) 800-662-5711, Bi-County Community Action ( Bemidji ) 800-332-7161, Lakes & Pines CAA (Mora) 800-832-6082, Prairie Five Community Action Council ( Montevideo ) 800-292-5437, Dakota County Community Development Agency 651-675-4400, SEMCAC (Rushford) 800-944-3281, Inter-County Community Action Council (Oklee)  218-796-5144, Western Community Action ( Marshall )  800-658-2448, Kootasca Action Council ( Grand Rapids ) 800-422-0312.

Other locations to apply at in Minnesota include Mahube Community Council ( Detroit Lakes ) 888-458-1385, Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council ( Worthington ) 800-658-2444, Minnesota Valley Action Council ( Mankato ) 800-767-7139, Northwest Community Action Agency (Badger) 800-568-5329, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council (Crookston) 866-264-3729, Ottertail-Wadena CAC ( New York Mills) 800-450-2900, Scott Carver Dakota CAP (Shakopee)  952-496-2125, Three Rivers Community Action (Zumbrota) 800-277-8418.

Minnesota Cold Weather Protection Rule - This will ensure that customers do not have their utility and / or heating service shut off during the cold winter months. It is meant to ensure that elderly, disabled, and vulnerable households are able to keep their power on. Certain criteria does need to be met. Learn more on Minnesota Cold Weather Plan.

Reach Out for Warmth (ROFW) – This is offered across the state of Minnesota. The Department of Economic Security's Energy Program Unit administers this year-round emergency fuel fund through over 40 local charities as well as energy assistance agencies across Minnesota. ROFW agencies provide people in need of help for paying bills with emergency energy assistance and furnace repair and/or replacement. Dial 1-800-657-3710, or learn more on Reach out for Warmth Minnesota.

Individual utility company assistance programs

In addition to the resources offered above in which all families can get help, many utility companies offer their own programs to customers in their service area. Get details below. Or also click here for more information on other programs such as weatherization, utility disconnection laws, and more general electric and utility bill assistance.





Agralite Electric Cooperative - The company serves these four counties in Minnesota. They are Big Stone, Pope, Stevens, and Swift. Energy Bill Assistance in their service area is offered by Prairie Five Community Action Council 320-269-6579 or West Central Community Action 218-685-4486.

Alliant Energy / Interstate Power – Customers can apply for the Gas Affordability Program. This particular assistance program is currently available to customers who have been qualified and receive assistance from the federal government LIHEAP program. Customers who qualify for aid may be able to receive a monthly credit on their gas bill that is no more than 6 percent of their income. In addition, the program can help pay older bills in that a monthly credit will also be determined and applied to arrearages that the customer may have had prior to participating in the Alliant Energy gas affordability program. Phone - 1-800-255-4268

Benco Electric Cooperative. Call them at 507-387-7963. A couple different energy assistance programs are offered. They include Caring Members. Money and grants can assist the elderly, disabled, or family in need to pay their energy or heating bills in the winter. The Minnesota Valley Action Council administers the program. They also run Operation Round Up, which is an emergency program.

CenterPoint Energy – This energy company also runs a version of the Gas Affordability Program. The program provides a monthly GAP Affordability Credit for the customer’s current natural gas bills and a fixed monthly bill amount for the remaining months that the customer may owe. CenterPoint Energy will in effect credit the applicants account for current gas charges that are greater than 6 percent of a customer’s total annual household income.

This particular service also allows families to catch up with the payment of older, unpaid utility bills. Each and every month a customer pays the GAP Installment amount on their heating or utility bill, CenterPoint Energy will match it with an equal amount in credit. To learn more or to apply for help, please contact CenterPoint Energy at 612-372-4727 or 1-800-245-2377 for more information or an application.

CenterPoint Energy - Several other emergency financial assistance and disconnection plans are offered. Customer service representatives may also offer qualified low income customers in Minnesota a number of payment plans. Find assistance from CenterPoint in Minnesota, and get more details.

Great Plains Natural Gas - A very low to low income weatherization assistance program can help people save on their heating and energy bills, and services are delivered through local community action agencies located across the service territory. Dial 877-267-4764 or 218-739-6602





Heating costs - Whether you heat your home with natural gas, electricity, oil, kerosene, wood, or some other means, you may be able to qualify for cash grants, energy conservation, and other resources for paying your bills. Several different non-profit services and assistance programs are available and offer heating bill help in Minnesota.

Kandiyohi Power Cooperative (phone 320-235-4155 or 1-800-551-4951) - Households facing a crisis may be able to get grants or help from Operation Roundup. Financial assistance may be able to pay for needs such as health care, free food, clothing, groceries, shelter, and other community services.

Minnesota Energy Resources - Gas Affordability Program may be able to assist qualified customers, and certain individuals and families can receive assistance paying their monthly heating, energy or natural gas utility bills. The program works by offering a discount to customers that is based on a percent of household income and the older bills can be forgiven.

The assistance program is available to low income customers and anyone else who has been qualified and receive assistance from the federal government LIHEAP program. In order to be enrolled in the Gas Affordability Program, customers must agree to be placed on a levelized payment plan and make the required payment on their monthly bills every month to stay enrolled. Enrollment is on a first come first served basis as funding is limited. The Minnesota Salvation Army runs the program, and dial 800-889-9508 or 888-733-8033

Minnesota Energy Resources - In addition to the program indicated above, low income and working poor customers can apply for other assistance programs. The energy provider works with agencies such as the Salvation Army HeatShare to provide emergency financial assistance. Customers with a health issue may benefit from Medical Emergency Protection. Government programs including LIHEAP may also be an option. Click more Minnesota Energy Resource assistance.

Minnesota Valley Cooperative, Light and Power Association also runs a version of Operation Round Up. Call them at 320-269-2163 or 1-800-247-5051. Member donations provide funds and emergency aid for charitable organizations and individuals or families who need heating or energy bills assistance.

Otter Tail Power Company administers an energy conserving program which they call the House Therapy Program. It is an assistance program for customers of the utility company who have high bill concerns and high-energy usage in their home or apartment. Participants in the program will receive an energy analysis and, as warranted, installation of energy-saving home improvements such as insulation and weather-stripping.

In some instances appliances such as refrigerators, water heaters, and even freezers may be repaired or replaced. You need to call your local community action agency. Bi-County Community Action Council 218-333-9840. Inter-County Community Council, Inc. 218-796-5144 or1-888-778-4008 x20. Northwest Community Action, Inc. 218-528-3258 or 1-800-568-5329. Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council, Inc. 800-450-2900. Tri-Valley Opportunity Council 800-584-7020 or 218-281-5832. West Central MN Community Action 218-685-4486 or 800-492-4805. Western Community Action 507-537-1416 or 507-847-2632. Prairie Five Community Action Council 320-269-6578 or 800-292-5437.

Xcel Energy - Community Action Agencies in this utility company’s territory deliver the following two programs. They are Home Electric Savings Program, which may be able to offer appliance replacement and repairs and energy education to qualified individuals. Qualified low-income and working poor residents can receive free replacement window air conditioners in exchange for older, less efficient units or models. Another option is the Low-Income Weatherization Program, which can provide water heaters, insulation, furnace replacement, and other energy conserving updates.

Xcel Energy - Offers a couple different programs and components. They include Low Income Senior Discount, which is an energy bill assistance program in which participants may be eligible for the low-income discount on their monthly bills. The low-income discount will provide low-income residential electric/gas customers who are 62 years of age or older and even disabled individuals with a 50 percent discount on their monthly electric and heating bills. Dial 1-800-895-4999 for this program.







Another component or assistance program provided is the Power On and Gas Affordability Program. This is administered by Energy CENTS Coalition, and the group offers low to moderate income households in Minnesota the opportunity to receive a discount on a portion of their monthly gas bill (through the Gas Affordability program) or a discount of their monthly electric bill (through the POWER on program). To apply for this particular energy bill assistance program please call 1-800-657-3710 or you can also decide to visit Minnesota Commerce: Assistance Programs. For more information a potential applicant can also decide to call 651-774-9010 or 888-774-9070.

Xcel Energy - The utility company also administers payment plans and energy conservation services for qualified customers. Find how to save money, or apply for cash grants to use for paying bills. Read more Xcel Energy assistance programs.

Xcel Energy – A 1994 law requires that any electric companies that operate in the state that provide service to over 200,000 residential customers provide a 50 percent discount for low-income customer on the first part on their monthly power bill. The average discount offered is over $100 per month.

Xcel Energy Low - Income Energy Efficiency. This may be able to provide qualified homeowners with Energy Conservation Improvements.


By Jon McNamara














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