Heating problems addressed by area lawmakers
Three area state House members addressed the issue of cold weather and heating costs in statements released Tuesday.
State Representatives John Ward, DFL – Baxter, and Joe Radinovich, DFL – Crosby, said they were joining the Minnesota Department of Commerce in reminding low-income households, especially homes with senior citizens, people with disabilities, veterans, and families with children who might be struggling to pay their heating bills that help is still available from Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP).
Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, encouraged anyone in an emergency situation caused by the extreme cold weather or rising propane prices to visit the Division of Energy Resources website at http://mn.gov/commerce/energy, or by calling 1-800-657-3710 or 651-539-1882.
“It’s been a tough, dangerous winter already and now the increasing prices in propane and heating oil are making it worse,” said Rep. Ward. “I’ve received a number of calls and emails from constituents and wanted to make sure people were aware of this assistance. Minnesotans are used to tough winters, but if you are in need, don’t hesitate to apply for assistance.”
A statement from Ward and Radinovich said that in response to the significant cost increases in propane the Commerce Department has begun to take the necessary steps to increase LIHEAP Crisis payments from $500 to $1,000 for applicants currently heating their homes with propane and heating oil.
“No Minnesotans should have to go without heat, regardless of their financial circumstances,” said Rep. Radinovich. “I strongly encourage people who need assistance to apply for it. Please be sure to check on your neighbors as well. As Minnesotans do in tough times, we’ll band together and get through this.”
Households with an income less than 50 percent of the state median income ($43,642 for a family of four) may qualify; those who qualify are served on a first-come, first-served basis while funds last. People have until May 31, when the program year ends, to apply for EAP.