Many Minnesotans may get an unwanted surprise on their next natural gas bill. If you are using Minnesota's heat assistance, there is some good news.

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Due to the recent spike in natural gas prices brought on just in time for the frigid temps in February people are prone to sticker shock when they get their new bill.  If you use Minnesota's energy assistance program or will need to, there is some help available.

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, they are going to double the crisis benefit for qualifying households.  The benefit will go from $600 to $1200 and can be used for a variety of energy needs.

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Funds are available to pay utility disconnections, past dur utility bills, emergency fuel delivery and past dur energy bills. to qualify, you must have less than $54,357 as a household income for a household of four or $28,266 for a household of one. Assistance could be up to $1600

The Minnesota Department of Commerce issued this statement “For those who have not already applied for help this heating season, there is still time. Both renters and homeowners can qualify to get energy assistance. For households who have already received assistance, even more benefits may be available. Households with young children, people with disabilities, veterans, seniors and those experiencing unemployment or financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are especially encouraged to apply.”

Last winter the program served nearly 120,000 households. If you are in need of assistance, you have until May 31st to apply for assistance. The is a limit on funds and it's on a first come first served basis. You can apply for assistance with the service provider in your area. Call 800-657-3710 or visit https://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/energy-assistance/

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