Utility Providers Including Minnesota Power Suspend Disconnections, Late Fees
Citizens Utility Board and Minnesota Power Urge Customers to Call to arrange payment plan.
DULUTH, Minn.- People struggling to keep up with heat, water, or electric bills due to the Coronavirus pandemic may find some relief from many utility providers.
The Citizens Utility Board, a non-profit representing energy customers in Minnesota, is urging Minnesotans to contact their utility providers like Minnesota Power to work out a payment plan to avoid being disconnected.
Many providers have already put policies in place to suspend disconnections, but customers should still make a quick phone call to check.
“Even if you’re not getting cut off, it’s important to still contact the utility, let them know your situation, arrange a payment plan if you can,” said Annie Levenson-Falk, Executive Director for the Citizens Utility Board. “It’s best to make at least partial payments if you’re able to do that.”
“And that way when this eventually, when the state emergency is lifted, you won’t have as large a bill to catch up on,” she said.
Meanwhile, Minnesota Power is suspending disconnections and waiving late fees and reconnection fees for residents and small businesses.
Customers may still receive notices in the mail, but those no longer apply.
“Some folks may continue to receive notices that they are maybe late on their bills, or maybe a disconnection notice, and that’s just part of an automated process that happens,” said Amy Rutledge, Corporate Communications Manager for Minnesota Power.
“But if somebody gets a notice in the mail, we encourage you, please call us so we can give you piece of mind so you know that you will not be disconnected,” she said. That number is 1-800-228-4966.
Energy assistance is also available for households making less than 50% of state median income through local providers. In Duluth, that’s through the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency.