City of CokatoNotice to ResidentsTHE COLD WEATHER RULE
Under the Cold Weather Rule (Minn. Stat. 216B.097), Minnesotans have the right not to have their utility service disconnected and to have it reconnected from October 15 to April 15 if it affects the primary heat source of their residence and their total household income is at or below 50 percent of the state median household income.
If a customer does not meet the responsibilities outlined below, utility service may still be discontinued. If a customer disputes the utility’s decision to disconnect, the customer has the right to contact the utility and appeal the decision through the utility’s established appeal procedure.
If service is to be disconnected, the disconnection must not occur:
1. on a Friday, unless that day the customer declines to enter into a payment agreement offered by the utility in person or via personal contact by telephone;
2. on a weekend, holiday, or day before a holiday;
3. when utility offices are closed;
4. after the close of business, unless a field representative of the utility who is authorized to enter into a payment agreement, accept payment, and continue service, offers a payment agreement to the customer; or
5. until at least 20 days after the disconnection notice has been mailed to the customer or 15 days after the notice has been personally delivered to the customer.
In order to have the rights stated above, a customer must do the following:
1. Provide the utility with information to verify that the customer meets the income eligibility requirement. The utility may ask the customer to fill out a form or simply ask if the customer receives any form of public assistance that requires recipients to have income at or below 50% of the state median household income.
2. Contact the utility and come to a mutually agreeable schedule for making monthly payments toward utility bills. The agreement must consider the financial resources of the household.
3. Continuously make the payments required under the agreement. Payments must be made in a reasonably timely manner. If financial circumstances change and the customer cannot make scheduled payments, the customer must notify the utility of the need to make changes to the agreement.
If you need financial assistance in a shut off situation, you may contact the following agencies for assistance: Wright County Energy Assistance at 320-963-6500; Salvation Army 320-252-4552; Tri-CAP, Inc. 320-251-1612.
Published in the Herald Journal Oct. 6, 2017.