Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule Goes into Effect Monday: What You Need to Know

Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule goes into effect on Oct. 15 to April 15. Photo: KSTP
Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule goes into effect on Oct. 15 to April 15.

October 10, 2018 06:08 PM

Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule, which is designed to help residential customers protect and reconnect their heat, goes into effect Monday and lasts until April 15. 


All electric and natural gas companies must offer CWR protection and offer payment plans dependent on household income and which company offers your electric and natural gas services. 

If you have trouble paying for your winter heating bills, contact your electric or natural gas to sign up for a CWR payment plan and learn about other discounts. 

More Resources on KSTP

A payment plan can continue after April 15. 

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission lists some of the following frequently asked questions on its website: 

Can my heat shut off in the winter?

  • Yes

How do I sign up?

  • Contact your natural gas or electric company to request a CWR plan
  • Plans can be established anytime during the CWR season
  • If plan is broken, the utility is not required to offer additional arrangements
  • If unable to make a payment amount, you have the right to appeal with your company

After signing up

  • After making a plan, the utility company will turn on your heat as long as you make your payments through April 15


  • If you and your company cannot agree on a plan, you can request and appeal from your natural gas or electric company
  • You have 10 days to submit your appeal to the Commission
  • The Commission will help you set up a payment plan
  • Your service will stay on during the appeal process

Does this apply to all utilities?

  • No
  • Fuels like fuel oil, propane, and wood are not covered by the CWR
  • If you need electricity for heat, you may apply for CWR protection with your electric company

Utility requirements before disconnecting your utilities 

  • Notice of disconnection
  • Payment plan options to stop a disconnection
  • Appeal rights if you and the utility cannot agree on a payment plan
  • A list of local energy assistance and weatherization providers
  • A list of no-cost and low-cost methods to conserve energy
  • A Third Party Notice form

What if I can’t make my scheduled payment?

  • Call your utility immediately to make a new CWR payment plan
  • If payments are not made, your service may be shut off

What if I rent and pay my own utility bills?

  • If the natural gas or electric service in your name affects your primary heat, you are eligible for CWR protection

Help reading and understanding notices

  • If you have trouble with utility bills and notices, fill out a Third Party Notice form and the utility will send copies to the person you choose so you don’t miss important dates.
  • The Third Party is not responsible for paying any bills


Mauricio Martinez Cruz

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