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Utility affordability programs can keep energy bills affordable

Published November 1, 2022

Minnesota households are bracing for higher heating costs this winter. Many households that qualify for Energy Assistance can receive additional discounts on their electric and/or gas service through their utility. Each utility’s program is a little different, but most of these programs cap participants’ bills at 2-4% of the households’ income to make sure energy remains affordable, and will forgive a portion of customers’ past-due balances, and protect customers from being shut off.

All of Minnesota’s investor-owned utilities offer affordability programs for income-qualified customers. Each utility’s programs are different, so contact your utility or the organization listed at the appropriate link below to find out more and apply. 

  • CenterPoint Energy: Gas Affordability Program
    • Monthly natural gas payments will not exceed 3 percent of income (gas bills are capped at 2 percent, and arrearage payments are capped at 1 percent).
    • Helps with past-due bills and protects customers from natural gas service shut off.
  • Great Plains Natural Gas: Gas Affordability Program
    • Provides a monthly credit so customers’ annual gas bill will not be more than 4 percent of household income.
    • Helps with past-due bills.
  • Greater Minnesota Gas: Gas Affordability Program
    • Provides a monthly credit so customers’ annual gas bill will not be more than 4 percent of income.
    • Helps with past-due bills.
  • Minnesota Energy Resources: Gas Affordability Program
    • Provides a monthly credit so customers’ annual gas bill will not be more than 3 percent of income.
    • Help with past-due bills.
  • Minnesota Power: CARE Program
    • Two discount options for customers:
      • Flat monthly $20 discount, or
      • Affordability discount: This discount is applied if households spend more than 3% of their annual income on electric bills.
  • Otter Tail Power: Uplift Program
    • Provides a discount each month on customers’ bills. The amount of the discount depends on the customer’s usage from the previous year.
  • Xcel Energy: Power On (electric) and Gas Affordability Program
    • Based on household income, households pay a set amount each month for electricity and/or natural gas service.
    • The Gas Affordability Program provides a monthly credit so customers’ annual gas bill will not be more than 3 percent of their income.
    • Each time payments are made, Xcel Energy will apply a Power On/GAP discount to the bill.
  • Xcel Medical Electric Affordability Program
    • Based on household income, households pay a set amount each month for electricity.
    • Help with past due bills.

Reach out to CUB if you or someone you know is struggling to keep up with bills or have any questions about energy affordability. Call 651-300-3701 or email info@cubminnesota.org.

Author: Hannah Hoeger

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