Funds are still available to help pay heating bills

Published 7:08 pm Thursday, May 9, 2019

Heating systems throughout the state are still in use, and that means the energy costs to stay warm and safe continue. For Minnesotans struggling to pay their heating bills, help is available from the state’s Energy Assistance Program. Applications are accepted through May 31.

The Energy Assistance Program helps low-income homeowners and renters pay heating bills through benefits paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers. Minnesotans who earn less than 50 percent of the state’s median income, which is $49,698 for a family of four, are encouraged to apply, especially households that include children under the age of six, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors.

“The heating season is coming to an end, but there are still many Minnesotans who need help paying current and past-due heating bills,” said Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley. “EAP funds can also go toward a household’s electric bill, ensuring that people vulnerable to high temperatures, such as seniors, can safely cool their homes this summer. We urge all Minnesotans who may qualify to apply for energy assistance.”

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Last year, the EAP served more than 126,000 Minnesota households. The average benefit per household was about $545. Households receiving assistance had an average income of just over $18,000.

The Commerce Department administers EAP in partnership with 29 local service providers throughout the state. EAP is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Qualifying households must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. New applications are accepted until May 31. Funding is administered on a first-come, first-served basis, so households are urged to apply as soon as possible.

To determine the local service provider in your area, visit the Energy Assistance Program section of the Commerce Department’s website or call 1-800-657-3710.

Other forms of assistance may be available through county social service programs, community-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies.