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It may not quite be winter yet, but this law is in effect right now in Minnesota which could affect your utility bill.

Ahh, yes. That period of time in Minnesota when it's still technically Fall but yet it already feels like Winter. It's also that time of year when Minnesota's Cold Weather Law is officially in effect again.

What's the Minnesota Cold Weather Law (also known as the Cold Weather Rule), you ask? No, it's not a rule that prohibits snow and/or really cold temperatures from occurring until December-- though wouldn't THAT be a great rule?!?-- it's actually the law in Minnesota that prohibits your utility company from disconnecting your heat if you're delinquent on your bill. And it's actually been up and running for several weeks already. It started this year on Sunday, October 1st, and will run through Tuesday, April 30th, 2024.

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It's comforting to know that when the temperatures dip to 30 below zero with windchills of nearly 60 below, your heat can't be turned off-- even if you're behind on your payments. And, as we all know, those payments can be pretty expensive during another long, frigid winter here in the Land of 10,000 (Frozen) Lakes, right?

But Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule doesn't quite give you the freedom to just not pay your heating bill during the winter without worrying you won't be disconnected. That's a common misconception, but it's actually not 100 percent true.

According to the state of Minnesota, the Cold Weather Rule only protects you from having your heat turned off if you're behind on your bill IF YOU'VE SET UP A PAYMENT PLAN with your utility first.

'The Cold Weather Rule (CWR) helps protect and reconnect your heat from October 15 through April 15,' the state website says, BUT, 'You must make and keep a Cold Weather Rule payment plan with your natural gas or electric utility company to receive Cold Weather Rule (CWR) protection between October 1st and April 30th.'

If you live in Rochester and get your natural gas service from Minnesota Energy Resources to heat your home (like we do), you can check out their Cold Weather Rule information HERE. Similarly, Rochester Public Utilities has information concerning their Minnesota Cold Weather Rule policies HERE.

If your utility isn't one of those two, you can check the state of Minnesota website's Cold Weather Rule information HERE. Stay warm this winter, friends!

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