Published March 9, 2022
Since the onset of COVID, major utilities across Minnesota have offered special protections against utility shut off. After April 30, 2022, the last of the special protections will end.
For customers of CenterPoint Energy, Dakota Electric Association, Great Plains Natural Gas, Greater Minnesota Gas, Minnesota Energy Resources, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power, and Xcel Energy:
- A pending or approved application for Energy Assistance will no longer protect you from shut off after April 30, 2022.
- A pending or approved application for RentHelpMN, the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, will no longer protect you from shut off after April 30, 2022.
- Service deposits, down payments, interest, late payment charges, and business hour reconnection fees will resume after April 30, 2022.
For all utilities, Cold Weather Rule protections also end on April 30, 2022.
If you are behind on your bills and are worried about your service being disconnected, CUB recommends:
- Call your utility and ask for 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.
- Do not agree to a payment plan that is unaffordable for you. If you have trouble arranging an acceptable payment plan with your utility, contact the Public Utilities Commission Consumer Affairs Office for assistance at 800-657-3782 or email@example.com.
- 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 a normal year.
- 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 for more information.
CUB will advocate for you if you run into difficulties. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-300-4701. We will be happy to identify resources that may help you pay your bills and avoid disconnection.