More Assistance Coming to Help Minnesotans Pay for Rising Heat Costs
Minnesotans will have to dig deep into their pocketbooks to pay to heat their homes this winter. Economists have predicted that U.S. households will spend 30 to 50 percent more money to keep warm this cold season.
“The average Minnesotan household spends about 2 percent of its income on energy bills through the whole year,” said Department of Commerce Spokesperson Mo Schriner. “There are some Minnesota households who a lot more than that, some 5 percent, and some spend up to 30 percent.”
The federal government announced Friday that it allocated more money to states to help people pay for energy costs. The total amount the Minnesota Department of Commerce received for energy assistance more than doubled to $270 million this year. The state got an additional $167 million from American Rescue Plan Act federal funding. Thanks to the extra money, the Minnesota Department of Commerce can help more people this year and raised income eligibility limits. For example, a family of four making up to $58,000 a year will qualify.
The state was also able to expand the amount of benefits. So, people can catch up on past bills, or if their furnace broke down, there’s money for that, too.
“The cost of that that we pay to you that you don’t have to repay, it can be up to $3,200,” explained Schriner.
Simple things to save money on your heating bill
1. Turn down the heat a few degrees when you’re away or at night.
2. Add plastic film on your windows to keep out drafts.
3. And adjust heat registers. If lower levels are too cold, open those vents and close others.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is trying to reach diverse populations to know about heat assistance programs and tips on saving money. They have YouTube videos in English, Hmong, Spanish and Somali.
To apply for energy assistance: mn.gov/energyassistance.