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Minnesota to receive $73 million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

October 30, 2011

Commerce Department encourages low-income consumers to apply for assistance

ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, announced Saturday that Minnesota will receive $73 million in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP). EAP helps low-income customers pay their heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers.

"This initial LIHEAP grant award will assist many low-income Minnesotans. Still, it seems likely that the total amount Minnesota may eventually receive will not be as high as in recent years," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman in a news release. "We are hopeful that Minnesota will receive supplemental federal funding in the months ahead. We will be working closely with Minnesota's congressional delegation to advocate for those additional funds.

"We encourage Minnesotans who may have trouble paying their heating bills this year to apply for EAP assistance," Rothman said. "The Minnesota Department of Commerce will be working diligently in the weeks and winter months ahead to provide the best possible assistance to low-income families, seniors, and disabled Minnesotans at a time when they need it most."

Last year, Minnesota served 172,053 households with $152.6 million in federal funds. This year, the average grant per household will be $400. Customers with 50 percent or less of the state median income ($43,050 for a family of four) may qualify. Households with seniors, disabled, and children are especially encouraged to apply.

Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Funding is limited and is administered on a first-come-first-serve basis.

A list of local service providers and more information about the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program can be found on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website and click on "Financial Assistance."