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Cold weather rule starts Oct. 15

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The state rule that prevents utility companies from turning off the heat to people who get behind on their bills resumes on Saturday.

It's called the cold weather rule and it applies from Oct. 15 to April 15. Eligible customers must commit to a monthly payment of no more than 10 percent of household income.

Xcel Energy says Monday that customers who want to use the rule's protection must contact their utility company and commit to a payment plan once they get a disconnection notice.

For more information about the rule, customers can call Xcel Energy at (800) 895-4999.

Xcel says it may refer customers to local community energy assistance programs. Minnesota will offer energy assistance this winter, but Xcel says the money might run out so people should apply early.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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