For Immediate Release
With continued bitterly cold weather – the coldest winter three decades – not only has it taken a toll on home budgets, but also homeowners may look to alternate heat sources to stay warm. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, however, urges Minnesotans to be safe about space heaters and carbon monoxide as the deep freeze continues across the state.
“We are reminding everyone to stay safe during Minnesota’s extreme cold weather,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The sub-zero temperatures and high heating costs have created very hard times for many Minnesotans. Now is the time to review safety to protect families and seek financial assistance which is available for many eligible households struggling to make ends meet.”
Use Alternative Heat Sources Safely
The State Fire Marshal (SFM) reminds residents to use caution when using alternative heating sources such as space heaters.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Mnnesotans who need financial assistance to pay heating bills may find help through the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Department of Commerce administers LIHEAP in Minnesota, which helps low income households, especially those with seniors, children, veterans and people with disabilities with their heating bill.
Earlier this month, Governor Dayton increased the eligibility for LIHEAP assistance. Minnesota households earning less than 60% of the state median income are eligible for energy assistance. The expansion of the program now means that, for example, families of four earning less than $52,370 a year or a home of two earning less than $35,612 are now eligible.
In addition, the Commerce Department increased Crisis Benefits from $500 to $1,000 for Minnesotans heating their homes with propane and heating oil and changed the eligibility requirement from a propane tank at less than 20% full to less than 30% full to ensure timely delivery of fuel before tanks reach critical levels.
To apply for energy assistance, visit the Energy Assistance section of the Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources website or by calling 1-800-657-3710. Consumers will be connected to the local service provider in their community for additional information and the energy assistance application.
Minnesotans affected by the propane shortage in need of financial assistance or concerns about pricing can call the Propane Emergency Hotline at (800) 657-3504 in Greater Minnesota or (651) 297-1304 in the Twin Cities.