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Minnesota program has funds to help pay energy bills

As communities struggle to cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds Minnesotans the state’s energy assistance program still has funds available for help paying energy bills, according to a press release.

For those who have not already received help this heating season, there is still time. The Department of Commerce especially encourages newly unemployed, households with young children, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors to apply.

“Increasing numbers of Minnesotans are becoming economically vulnerable due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley. “Energy Assistance is an important safety net to help our households stay healthy and safe in this challenging time.”

The energy assistance program serves households earning less than 50% of the state’s median annual income ($52,014 for a family of four). It helps low-income homeowners and renters with energy bills through grant money paid directly to their utility companies or heating fuel vendors.

Last year the energy assistance program served nearly 126,000 Minnesota households (with approximately 315,000 household members), with an average grant of about $545. In addition to the initial grant, the program can provide funds to residents who are shutoff, facing heat disconnections or needing emergency fuel delivery. Funds are also available to help eligible homeowners repair or replace malfunctioning heating systems.

The Minnesota Commerce Department administers the program in partnership with 29 local service providers throughout the state.

New applicants have until July 1 to apply, but funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eligibility is based on household size and income in the most recent full calendar month. See the current maximum income guidelines for all household sizes at mn.gov/commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/energy-assistance.

Eligible households apply for assistance with the local service provider in their area. To receive an application and find your local service provider, visit the energy assistance program section (mn.gov/commerce/eap.jsp) of the Commerce Department website (mn.gov/commerce) or call the Commerce Department at 800-657-3710.