Minnesota Cold Weather Rule



MINNESOTA COLD WEATHER RULE

October 15 Through April 15 Each Year 

Annual Notice To Residential Customers 

For some customers, it is difficult to pay their utility bills in the winter. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission set up the Cold Weather Rule to protect residential customers from shut-off if they cannot pay their bills in full. This protection lasts from October 15 through April 15. You may qualify for the protection if you meet both conditions:

  • The disconnection would affect your main heating source, and You:

If your service has already been shut off as of October 15, the Cold Weather Rule offers a Reconnection Plan, which may allow you to have your service turned back on. The Cold Weather Rule does not totally forbid winter shut off. If you receive a shut off notice this winter, you must act promptly. 

If you receive a Disconnection Notice, you will also receive:

  1. Information on your rights & responsibilities, and
  2. Information on ways to reduce energy use, and
  3. A list of agencies that can help pay utility bills, and
  4. A list of weatherization providers, and
  5. An Inability to Pay or 10% Plan form.

If you want to apply for Inability to Pay or the 10% Plan:

  1. Fill out the form on this brochure and send it along with your proof of income, in the enclosed envelope to United Natural Gas, and
  2. Call United Natural Gas on or before the due date listed on the notice of proposed disconnection, to set up a payment plan.

United Natural Gas may appeal your request to the Public Utilities Commission if there is reason to believe you do not qualify. The Commission will contact you by letter, and will require proof of your claim to qualify for Inability To Pay or the 10% Plan and will make a decision. The Commission has 30 days to decide after receipt of the utility's written appeal. 

If you receive a Disconnection Notice, there are three plans for which you might qualify: Inability to Pay, 10% Plan, or Reconnection Plan. 

Inability To Pay 

To qualify for "Inability To Pay" you must be a residential customer who:

  1. Was fully paid up, or reasonably on time with a payment plan as of October 15, and
  2. Meets income guidelines set by the government, and
  3. Cannot pay the full energy bill, but is willing to make a payment plan.
  4. If you qualify for Inability To Pay, and United Natural Gas accepts your application, and you make your required scheduled payments, we cannot shut off your energy service between October 15 and April 15.

10% Plan 

To qualify for this plan - you must be a residential customer and must meet these three criteria:

  1. Was not fully paid up or reasonable on time with a payment plan as of October 15,
  2. Has household income less than 50% of the state median income.
  3. Agree to pay the lesser of:
    • 10% of monthly household income (if you receive service from more than one utility, your payments will be divided among them.)
    • The full amount of the current bill not including arrears.
  4. If you qualify for the 10% Plan, and you make your required monthly payments, United Natural Gas cannot disconnect your service between October 15 and April 15.

Reconnection Plan ― Setting Up a Payment Plan

If you cannot pay your full utility bills and need to make special arrangements, call United Natural Gas, LLC at (507) 647-6602 to enter into a payment plan, which is acceptable to both you and United Natural Gas. The schedule must cover everything you already owe plus payment for the amount of gas you are expected to use over the time your payment plan covers. If the plan you request is not acceptable to United Natural Gas, your service may be disconnected. First, however, the customer has the right to appeal to the Vice President of Energy of United Natural Gas for a decision on what a fair payment schedule would be. 

United Natural Gas will make every effort to send a copy of the Disconnection Notice to the third party specified. United Natural Gas assumes no liability for failure of a third party to receive or act upon the notice. For your convenience, complete this form and return it with your bill statement to: 

United Natural Gas
705 East 4th Street
PO Box 461
Winthrop, MN 55396

Third Party Notification

Customers have the right to request that United Natural Gas notify a third party if their service becomes subject to disconnection. A third party can be a friend, relative, church or community agency. A third party is NOT responsible for payment of the customer’s bill, but may assist the customer in setting up a payment plan. If your personal circumstances require a third party, please complete and detach the form provided with this notice, have the third party sign the form and send it to:

United Natural Gas
705 East 4th Street
PO Box 461
Winthrop, MN 55396

Financial Assistance

If you have trouble paying your utility bills, the following local agencies may be able to provide payment assistance:

Nicollet County
Minnesota Valley Action Council
St. Peter Community Center

600 South 5th Str.
St. Peter, MN 56082
jboisjolie@mnvac.org
(507) 934-5224

Your Local Salvation Army Heatshare Program
Your Local County Human Services Office