Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule Is In Affect, Do You Know If You Can Pay Your Heating Bills This Winter?
Soon the weather will turn colder and the snow will fly. How are you going to afford your heating bills? That's the question on a lot of people's minds, especially since the Cold Weather Rule has gone into affect from now through April 15, 2015. There IS help available.
If you asked "what is the cold weather rule", you aren't alone. If you find it hard to pay your heating bill during the long cold winter months, again you aren't alone. Because that has become such a devastating issue for some families, the state of Minnesota set up the Cold Weather Rule to protect residential, heat-affected customers who are unable to pay their utility bills from disconnection of service between Oct. 15 and April 15.
Now the Cold Weather Rule doesn't mean your heat may not be shut-off. So, if you receive a shut-off notice in winter, you must act promptly and call Minnesota Power at 218-722-2625 or 800-228-4966 to apply for Cold Weather Rule protection and set up a payment plan. If you don't, it could mean your service will be subject to disconnection without further notice if you do not make the agreed upon payments. Furthermore, if you cannot keep your original payment plan, call Minnesota Power immediately and make a new payment plan to avoid disconnection. They really do try to work with you to make it an affordable, comfortable situation.
The next question that comes to mind is what kind of payment plan are they offering? It's based on your household.
- At or below 50 percent of the state median income, you are not required to pay more than 10 percent of your monthly household income.
- More than 50 percent of the state median income, you may make a payment plan with Minnesota Power.
Please note that there is a cut off date. The Cold Weather Rule payment plans last until April 15 unless you make other arrangements with Minnesota Power. Your service could be disconnected if you have a past due balance on April 15 and do not make and keep a new payment plan.
If you're like my family and use oil, propane or wood to heat your home you are not eligible for the program. But, they do suggest calling your service provider and seeing if prior payment arrangements can be made.
If you are a MN Power customer and would like to make arrangements, call Minnesota Power at 1-800-228-4966.