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Understanding Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule

Woman calling service technician with hand on broken water heater.

Minnesota’s harsh winter weather makes home heating essential. But sometimes, life can make it difficult to balance bills and other financial obligations. Don’t worry—help is available. Understanding Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule, as well as how to utilize it, can help you ensure your home has heat all season long. Read on to learn more.

What is the Cold Weather Rule?

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule (CWR) protects residents from having their electric or gas service disconnected during our frigid winter months, October 1 to April 30. Essentially, this state law requires utility providers to offer a payment plan to qualifying customers, which they must then make and keep for service to continue.

What is the Utility Disconnection Process?

The CWR outlines a utility’s duties prior to disconnection. According to the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA), before shutting off service (between October 1 and April 30), the utility must provide the customer with:

  • Utility disconnection/shutoff notice
  • Information regarding customer’s rights and responsibilities
  • Listings of local energy assistance providers
  • Form for declaring inability to pay
  • Information on payment plans and other opportunities to secure continued utility service

The CWR also outlines what customers must do to prevent disconnection, which we’ll discuss in the next section.

How Do I Get Help Paying My Energy Bill Under the CWR?

While the CWR protects residential utility customers from losing service, there is a process to be followed. Both renters and owners can qualify for CWR protection, given that the account is in their name. If you have concerns about paying your heating bills this winter, you must:

  1. Contact your utility company and request a CWR payment plan, and they will provide CWR application forms.
  2. Complete the application forms and return, as directed by the utility.
  3. Work with your utility to create a payment plan, which must be reasonable for your household’s financial circumstances under Minnesota’s CWR.
  4. Follow the payment plan schedule to maintain service through April 30. If you can’t make a scheduled payment, contact your utility ASAP to prevent disconnection.

Remember that your utility must deliver a shutoff notice before service can be cut, and they will work with you to prevent disconnection. If your service has already been shut off, they will work with you to set up a payment plan and to turn your service back on.

Helpful Resources

Contact Delano Municipal Utilities for CWR Assistance

At Delano Municipal Utilities (DMU), customer service and satisfaction drive all that we do. Understanding Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule and how to use it can provide crucial assistance in maintaining your home’s safety and comfort, and we are here to help.

Contact us today to learn more about CWR protection, getting started on a payment plan, or any other questions.