Published August 17, 2021
During the earlier stages of the pandemic, some utilities were prohibited from disconnecting consumers. As of August 2, all of Minnesota’s utilities are allowed to resume disconnections for past-due bills. If you are behind on your bills, here’s what you need to know.
- Call your utility and ask to arrange a payment plan that works given your personal financial circumstances. If your financial circumstances change and you are no longer able to follow your payment arrangement, contact your utility again and ask to restructure the arrangement based on your new situation.
If your utility is unwilling to make a reasonable payment plan, contact the Consumer Affairs Office at the Public Utilities Commission (651-296-0406, 800-657-3782, or firstname.lastname@example.org). They can help by mediating.
- Check if you are eligible for Energy Assistance or other funding. Many of these opportunities have been expanded this year, so you may qualify for funding even if you wouldn’t qualify in the past. Some utilities offer additional affordability programs to further reduce bills and help consumers get caught up on past due bills. See resources for more information about these and other forms of assistance.
- If you require electricity service for medically necessary equipment, the utility must keep your service on or reconnect service if it has been shut off. You will need to provide certification from a medical provider. If you have an overdue balance, you can be required to make a payment plan. Contact your utility so they are aware of your medical needs, and they will tell you what you must provide.
Beware of scams
With shutoffs resuming, scammers are taking advantage of people and may demand immediate payment to prevent your service from being disconnected.
- Never give out your banking information by email or phone. Utility companies won’t demand payment by phone.
- Utilities won’t force you to pay immediately as your only option.
- Utilities won’t demand payment by gift card, cash reload card, wiring money, or cryptocurrency.
- If you receive any suspicious calls, hang up and call your utility back using a number on the utility’s website or your utility bill to ask if it was them.
If you run into any trouble, contact CUB (651-300-4701, 844-MINN-CUB, email@example.com, or Facebook message). We can help you understand your rights, connect you with assistance, and help you try to get your service back on. The information you share also helps us advocate for you and your neighbors. We depend on information from people like you.
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