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More Minnesotans than ever are having difficulty paying their heating and electricity bills amid the pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has funds available for energy assistance, and the recently approved federal stimulus includes over $100 million for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program, nearly doubling the previous amount of support. If you qualify, you could receive significant assistance to help pay your energy bills. Eligible applicants receive an initial grant between $300 and $1,600 for energy expenses and can be eligible for up to $1,200 more to help pay overdue bills, avoid a utility shut off, or get a fuel delivery.

Eligibility is based on the last three months of income. Individuals need to have earned less than $8,479 in the past three months to qualify, while families of four can earn up to $16,307 during that time. Renters and homeowners are eligible, and assets such as the home are not considered in determining eligibility.

In the Mankato area, the Energy Assistance Program is administered through Minnesota Valley Action Council. You can learn more or apply at or by calling 507-345-6822.

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