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Cold weather rule ends April 16

Minnesotans with past due natural gas bills should take action to avoid having their natural gas service disconnected once the cold weather rule ends Tuesday, April 16.

The Minnesota cold weather rule protects residential customers who are having problems paying their natural gas bill from having their service disconnected Oct. 15 through April 15. While the cold weather rule does not prevent disconnection, it does give qualified customers extra protection during the coldest months as defined in the rule.

“As a result, customers who anticipate having a problem paying their natural gas bill, receive a disconnection notice or need their natural gas service reconnected are urged to call us immediately so that we can discuss payment arrangements,” said Joe Vortherms, vice president of operations for CenterPoint Energy in a news release. “Plus, we can help them enroll in CenterPoint Energy’s bill payment programs and direct them to energy assistance funding available at local social service agencies.”

CenterPoint Energy offers a variety of payment options and energy assistance program information — — that may help customers in need. The company also offers a Gas Affordability Program (GAP), which helps qualified customers lower their monthly gas bills and pay past due balances. To qualify for GAP, customers must have an active Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program grant for the current heating season. If qualified and accepted into the program, customers can receive credits on their monthly natural gas bill. Customers who qualify for this program will not have their natural gas service turned off during the program year, provided customers make agreed upon payments. Customers may call 612-372-4727 or 800-245-2377 to see if they qualify or visit the company’s website at

Customers may now use CenterPoint Energy’s new online and automated telephone options to make a one-time payment, setup a payment arrangement, report a payment made at an authorized bill payment center and to have service reconnected (web only) at To make a payment by phone and avoid service disruption, or to learn more about energy assistance, call 612-372-4680 or 800-729-6164.

For information about ways to reduce energy use and lower energy bills, visit

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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