Heating help for Minnesota families: ‘Cold weather rule’ in effect


As the mercury in the thermometer creeps down, the state Department of Commerce wants people who face financial challenges to know there are resources to help keep the heat on during the frigid winter months.

Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule takes effect Wednesday. This program was written into state law as a way to help protect customers who have trouble paying their heating bills. The law says heating companies must offer a payment plan, which limits monthly payments for eligible customers and may not disconnect their service if the payment plan is followed.

“The Cold Weather Rule and energy assistance helps Minnesota families that struggle financially with utility heating costs each winter, especially during bitterly cold winters like last year,” Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a news release. “No Minnesotan should be left out in the cold.”

Eligible customers who use natural gas or electricity to heat their homes must contact their utility company to establish and maintain a monthly payment plan to prevent their heat from being turned off from Oct. 15 through April 15, 2015.

Customers who have a combined household income at or below 50 percent of the state median income ($44,912 for a family of four) are not required to pay more than 10 percent of their household income; others are eligible to negotiate a payment plan with their utility company.

The Cold Weather Rule doesn't protect customers if they don't pay their bills, but utility companies provide several notifications and information on energy assistance programs prior to their service being disconnected. More information on assistance programs is available on the Stay Warm Minnesota website.

Customers who use fuel oil, propane or wood to heat their homes are not covered by the Cold Weather Rule, but many services have payment plans and assistance programs are also available, the Department of Commerce says.

Last winter, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helped about 180,000 Minnesotans with their heating costs, WDAY reported in April.

This embed is invalid

Next Up

covid-19, coronavirus

CDC says COVID-19 quarantine period can be cut to 10 or 7 days

You can come out of a 7-day quarantine following exposure provided you've had a negative test.

maple grove fire

1 person found dead inside Maple Grove business that burned down

A person had been unaccounted following the fire that destroyed Hanson Implement and Storage Tuesday night.

One-dollar bill, cash, money

Appeals court rules MN high school students can get unemployment benefits

They've been denied the benefits, and some were even asked to pay them back.

covid-19, coronavirus

Dec. 2 COVID-19 update: 77 more deaths in Minnesota

The death toll is closing in on 3,700 in Minnesota.

City Pages

Fan creates City Pages archive, Star Tribune tells him to remove it

After word spread that the defunct newspaper's website would go down, a fan created his own copy. Then he got a cease and desist letter.

Adam Thielen

Vikings activate Adam Thielen off COVID-19/reserve list

The star receiver missed last week's victory over Carolina.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.27.14 AM

Naked man shot by St. Paul cop is charged for sexual assault of ex-girlfriend

The 31-year-old suspect remains at Regions Hospital after being shot.

Lindsay Whalen

Whalen's Gophers start season with only 7 players available

Whalen isn't happy that a transfer wasn't granted immediate eligibility to play.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 9.21.08 AM

Baby steals the show in Minnesota family's viral TikTok video

Definitely busting out that wobbly baby move at the next party...

George Floyd protest

Activist groups release 'The People's Budget,' call for $53M Minneapolis police cuts

The People's Budget, spearheaded by Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block, would cut more than $53 million from MPD's budget.