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Department of Commerce secures $105 million in funding for the Energy Assistance Program

Heating Assistance payments to low-income Minnesotans will begin soon

November 09, 2012


For Immediate Release

ST. PAUL, MN - The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that Minnesota will receive $105,907,012 in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP).  EAP helps low-income homeowners and renters pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers.

“These critical federal dollars are good news and will make a big difference to help Minnesotans who struggle to pay for home heating and make ends meet in the cold winter months ahead. The Minnesota Commerce Department has and will work hard to make sure these funds best help low-income families and individuals in need of energy assistance," said Commissioner Mike Rothman.  “No Minnesotan should be without a warm place to call home.”

The Minnesota Department of Commerce administers the EAP in partnership with 34 local service providers throughout the state. EAP is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program helps renters and homeowners earning less than 50 percent of the state’s median income ($42,789 for a family of four) obtain grant money to help pay their heating bills.

“Adverse economic conditions have left many Minnesotans stretching every dollar and struggling to make ends meet,” said Commissioner Rothman. “We encourage all Minnesotans who may have difficulty paying their heating bills to apply for EAP assistance. Households that include children under the age of six, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors are especially encouraged to apply.”

Last year, Minnesota served 163,254 households and renters with $117 million in federal funds. The average household income of those receiving EAP funds was $16,000.  Approximately 85% of the homes included at least one senior, person with a disability, or a child under the age of 18. This year, the average grant per household will be $500. 

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-served basis. Interested households should contact their local service provider by calling 1-800-657-3710 or visiting the Energy Assistance section  of the Commerce Department’s website (www.energy.mn.gov). The Minnesota EAP is supported by federal LIHEAP funding and administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

The announcement of the grant awards to all the states from can be found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.