$ 167 million in new funding is available for Minnesotans who need help paying their utility bills

According to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, approximately 340,000 Minnesota households served by regulated utilities have overdue utility bills and owe a total of approximately $ 140 million. During the pandemic, the state’s peacetime emergency prevented utility companies from disconnecting service for customers with overdue bills, but that policy was lifted in May.

Under the Energy Assistance Program, households could receive up to $ 1,600 for their energy bills and could be eligible for an additional $ 1,200 to cover overdue bills. These payments would be sent directly to the household’s utility company, the Commerce Department said.

Both landlords and tenants are eligible for the program.

Applicants may also qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program to help pay for home upgrades to conserve energy.

“We want the thousands of Minnesotans who have fallen behind in paying their utility bills to know that you have options for keeping electricity in your home,” Trade Commissioner Grace Arnold said in a statement. “Apply for Energy Assistance today to get help with your bills and, if you are eligible, to see your energy bills permanently reduced through the Weather Assistance Program.” “

The Commerce Department also raised the income threshold as part of the expanded energy assistance program. For example, a four-person household with a combined income of $ 65,228 would qualify.

All households that apply for the program and have a pending or approved application are protected from utility disconnections until April 2022, according to the Commerce Department.

Those wishing to apply for the Energy Assistance Program can do so online or by calling 800-657-3710.

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