The Minnesota Department of Commerce has received an additional $167 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act to fund Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program. As a result, the program is open for applications all year. The Department is encouraging thousands of Minnesota households to apply, especially those with past-due energy bills who are at risk of utility disconnections.

Almost 340,000 Minnesota households served by regulated utilities have past-due utility bills for electric and gas energy, owing about $140 million, according to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In May the PUC lifted pandemic peacetime emergency restrictions that barred regulated utility companies from disconnecting customers with past-due bills. Utility companies have already begun notifying customers with past-due bills that they could be disconnected starting as soon as August 2.

The Commerce Department is coordinating with utility companies and community organizations on a statewide effort to encourage Minnesotans with outstanding bills or facing disconnections to apply for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance program.

Households could receive up to $1,600 for energy bills and may qualify for an additional $1,200 to cover past-due bills. By applying for energy assistance, Minnesota households can qualify for Minnesota’s Weatherization Assistance Program to pay for free home improvements to conserve energy and permanently reduce that home’s energy costs.

Minnesotans can apply now for the Energy Assistance Program by calling 800-657-3710 and pressing 1 or going online: mn.gov/commerce/eap.jsp.

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