Cold Weather Rule protections

MGN

As colder fall weather gets underway, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is reminding Minnesotans of annual Cold Weather Rule protections.

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule protects people from having their heat shut off between October 1 and April 30. All electric and natural gas companies are required to offer this protection.

“The Cold Weather Rule is a critically important law that ensures Minnesotans don’t have their heat cut off in the cold winter months,” Commission Chair Katie Sieben said. “If you are having difficulties working with your utilities, please contact the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Office for assistance with Cold Weather Rule protections.”

Under the Cold Weather Rule, customers who have a combined household income at or below 50% of the state median income are not required to pay more than 10% of their household income toward current and past heating bills. Additionally, all Minnesota residents who struggle to pay heating bills may be able to arrange a Cold Weather Rule payment plan and should contact their service provider for assistance.

To prevent heating disconnection or to reconnect service under the Cold Weather Rule, customers should first contact their utility to establish and maintain, or change, a monthly payment plan.

The Cold Weather Rule does not apply to delivered fuels such as fuel oil, propane or wood. While a state law requires that propane distributors offer all customers a budget plan, Minnesotans who use these fuels are encouraged to contact the companies serving them to discuss payment options.

The Cold Weather Rule is administered by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that regulates three cornerstone service industries in Minnesota’s economy; electricity, natural gas and telephone.

More information is available on the website mn.gov/puc, via email at consumer.puc@state.mn.us, or by calling the Consumer Affairs Office at 651-296-0406 or 800-657-3782.

—Information provided by Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

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