Minnesota’s wintertime heating bill protections begin Monday

Starting Monday, a Minnesota law kicks in to provide warmth for residents who cannot pay their heating bills.

Beginning Oct. 15 and running through April 15, Minnesota’s six coldest months, utility companies must provide residential customers with payment plans to avoid having their heat turned off.

Low-income Minnesotans may also be eligible for energy assistance programs from the state, utilities or charities that offer discounted heat or other help during colder months.

According to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, state laws do not keep utility companies from shutting off heat during colder months.

“You must make and keep a Cold Weather Rule payment plan with your natural gas or electric utility company to receive Cold Weather Rule protection between Oct. 15 and April 15,” the PUC says. “If you do not make your payments, your service may be shut off.”

Xcel Energy, the dominant electrical and gas utility in the east metro, says customers were recently sent information about the Cold Weather Rule with their bills.

For more information, customers can call Xcel’s residential customer service line at 1-800-895-4999 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers can also visit Xcel’s website for more information.

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