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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

216B.095 Disconnection during cold weather.

(a) The commission shall amend its rules governing disconnection of residential utility customers who are unable to pay for utility service during cold weather to include the following:

(1) coverage of customers whose household income is less than 50 percent of the state median income;

(2) a requirement that a customer who pays the utility at least ten percent of the customer's income or the full amount of the utility bill, whichever is less, in a cold weather month cannot be disconnected during that month. The customer's income means the actual monthly income of the customer or the average monthly income of the customer computed on an annual calendar year, whichever is less, and does not include any amount received for energy assistance;

(3) that the ten percent figure in clause (2) must be prorated between energy providers proportionate to each provider's share of the customer's total energy costs where the customer receives service from more than one provider;

(4) verification of income by the local energy assistance provider or the utility, unless the customer is automatically eligible for protection against disconnection as a recipient of any form of public assistance, including energy assistance, that uses income eligibility in an amount at or below the income eligibility in clause (1);

(5) a requirement that the customer receive referrals to energy assistance, weatherization, conservation, or other programs likely to reduce the customer's energy bills; and

(6) a requirement that customers who have demonstrated an inability to pay on forms provided for that purpose by the utility, and who make reasonably timely payments to the utility under a payment plan that considers the financial resources of the household, cannot be disconnected from utility service from October 15 through April 15. A customer who is receiving energy assistance is deemed to have demonstrated an inability to pay.

(b) For the purposes of this section, "disconnection" includes a service or load limiter or any device that limits or interrupts electric service in any way.

HIST: 1989 c 338 s 1; 1989 c 356 s 59; 2001 c 212 art 4 s 1; 1Sp2003 c 11 art 3 s 1