October 22, 2021
Minnesotans will spend more on heating bills this winter, experts and government officials say, but there is also more funding available to help low-income households cover costs.
A rise in global natural gas prices combined with market hangovers from a deep-freeze in Texas earlier this year means that most Minnesotans will pay more to stay warm this winter, according to Annie Levenson-Falk, executive director of the nonprofit consumer advocacy group, Citizens Utility Board.
While costs are expected to rise, there is more money than ever for a federal program that provides energy assistance and weatherization funds to low-income families. Minnesota received an additional $167 million for energy assistance from the American Rescue stimulus plan. And the income limit on who qualifies for benefits has been raised, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Now the challenge is getting people to sign up for energy assistance, which routinely serves far fewer people than it could, if all who are eligible applied.