Resources to help pay utility bills

Published October 6, 2021

Energy is essential, and we know all too well that energy bills can be a burden on your household. We don’t want you to be in the position where you need to choose between electricity and other essentials. If you or someone you know is struggling with energy bills there are resources to help.

If you need assistance with your energy bill, first see if you’re eligible for the Energy Assistance Program. Households can receive funding towards electricity, natural gas, and delivered fuel bills. Additional crisis funding is also available to avoid disconnections. The income threshold for the 2021-2022 program year is 60% of the state median income, which is a higher percentage than in a normal year. Also, as of this year, if you have past due water and sewer bills, you can apply for water assistance on the same application for help with energy bills. 

Once you’ve applied for energy assistance, if you are a customer of Xcel Energy, Centerpoint Energy, Great Plains Natural Gas, Greater Minnesota Gas, Minnesota Energy Resources, or Minnesota Power, there are affordability programs that may further reduce your energy bill, with more information available at the links above.

If you are a renter economically affected by COVID-19, you may apply for help with rent and other related expenses, including utility bills through the RentHelp MN program. Currently, the RentHelp MN program is working with renters who owe back rent. The program will expand to accept other rent and utility assistance requests at a later date. 

If you live in Saint Paul or Ramsey County, there are separate rent assistance programs that you can apply for instead. We recommend that you investigate each of these programs and find the one that’s right for your situation. Renters with pending applications to these programs are also encouraged to apply for Energy Assistance.

We strongly encourage everyone who is grappling with their energy bill to contact their utility provider and set up a payment plan, in addition to applying to the Energy Assistance program. If you are ineligible for Energy Assistance, you can still contact your utility provider and arrange a payment plan. If you have attempted to arrange a payment plan with your utility provider and are struggling to do so, we recommend calling the Public Utilities Commission Consumer Affairs Office, as they can contact your utility provider and help you work out a solution to prevent disconnection or re-establish your connection. 

Participation in a payment plan can be especially helpful between October 1 and April 30, during which time the Cold Weather Rule is in effect and will require that utility providers take extra steps before they disconnect you. This is called shutoff protection. You can learn more about other shut off protections here.

Please reach out to us with any questions, we are happy to talk through various options for you to reduce your energy expenses, get help paying your bills, and prevent disconnection.  Please give us a call at 651-300-4701 ext 2 or email us at info@cubminnesota.org

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Author: Daurius Mikroberts

2 Responses to "Resources to help pay utility bills"

  1. KAREN TRONNES Posted on October 7, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    I am a Minnesota Power customer and we are charged an “affordability surcharge” each month on our electric bill that pays for this program. I don’t know why we are expected to pay for this!
    Let the state take care of it, we pay our taxes too every month.

  2. Patricia m Seifert Posted on October 7, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    i agree

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