Published September 29, 2022
Energy bills have been on the rise, and this winter’s heating bills are unfortunately predicted to be even higher than last year. This is likely going to put a strain on many household budgets. We encourage people who meet income guidelines to apply for the Energy Assistance Program. Energy Assistance provides grants to homeowners or renters to assist with energy costs, including bills associated with electricity, natural gas, and delivered fuels such as propane, oil, and even biofuels, like wood corn, or pellets. If you need weatherization services to improve the efficiency of your home, or if you are behind on your water bills, the Energy Assistance application allows you to seek help for those issues, too.
Applications for 2022/2023 are being accepted now through May 31, 2023 (or until funds run out). Applications are typically administered on a first come, first served basis, with several exceptions. For example, emergency situations, such as energy shut-offs, take priority. We encourage eligible households to apply as early as possible, keeping in mind it can take as long as several weeks for applications to get processed. Each fall the federal government sends Energy Assistance funding to the states. Once the funds are received, the local agencies start distributing the funds. Waiting for the federal funds to arrive, plus application processing times accounts for there being weeks between applying for energy assistance and applicants receiving the funds. We encourage applicants who are falling behind on their bills and waiting for this funding to be in touch with their utility providers and arrange payment plans as needed.
Applications are available in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali. There are several ways to receive an energy assistance application:
- Download an application from the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.
- Fill out a form to request an application be mailed to you.
- Call your local provider and request an application.
- If you received Energy Assistance last year, you should automatically receive an application in the mail.
Applications should be sent to your local provider. You can find out who your local provider is here or by calling 1-800-657-3710.
Energy Assistance can also qualify you for additional benefits. If you are a homeowner, for example, and your furnace breaks down, contact your provider to have it repaired or replaced for you. Some utilities also offer additional energy bill savings programs, known as affordability programs, for those who are enrolled in or qualify for Energy Assistance.
As always, please reach out to CUB if you or people you know are struggling to keep up with bills or have any questions about energy affordability. You can call me at 651-300-4701 ext. 2 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help!