The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps income eligible households living in Benton, Stearns, Sherburne and Morrison county with paying a portion of their home heating costs.
For Cold Weather rule information click here: cold weather rule
The Energy Assistance Program is no longer accepting applications – the program ended on May 31, 2022.
1. What is the Energy Assistance Program (EAP)?
a. EAP provides a financial aid grant to assist with heating costs to households who qualify, crisis intervention for threat of or no heat situations, energy-related repairs for home heating systems and referrals to weatherization and other human service providers.
2. What are the income requirements?
a. Income guidelines can be viewed in the Energy Programs section of our website and are available with the application.
3. What is the time period to apply for energy assistance?
a. Households can apply for energy assistance from Oct. 1 through May 31. For the 2021 year the period is extended to September 1, 2021.
4. Do I need to apply every year?
a. No, not every year, but every heating season. The heating season is from Oct. 1 through
5. Do I need to be in an emergency situation to apply for energy assistance?
a. Apply as soon as you can. Your application will be processed in the first-in, first-out priority.
6. How do I get an application?
a. Applications in English and Spanish are available on our website (LINK TO APPLICATIONS) or you can call 320-251-1612 for an application to be mailed or you can stop by our main office at 1210 23rd Avenue South, Waite Park, MN 56387.
7. Can my utility vendor shut me off?
a. Yes, unless you take steps under the Cold Weather Rule to protect yourself. You must contact your utility company to apply for protection from having your heat shut off. This is true for all residential customers, including families with young children and senior citizens.
8. Are all utilities covered?
a. All utilities must follow some level of the Cold Weather Rule. Rate-regulated utilities (Xcel Energy, Reliant/Minnesgasco, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power and others) must follow a more expanded rule than municipal utilities and electric cooperatives. There are separate laws that have similar protections for municipal and electric cooperative customers. Delivered fuels, such as fuel oil, propane and wood are not covered.
9. What is the Cold Weather Rule (CWR)?
a. The CWR regulates the conditions under which gas and electric utilities may disconnect residential service in the winter. If you are having trouble paying your bill you should contact the utility to try to work out a payment plan.
10. Is this a monthly grant?
a. No, this is not a monthly grant. Upon your approval into the program, the entire amount you are eligible for will be sent to your selected vendor(s) within four months.
11. Do you pay my entire bill?
a. No, the energy assistance grant is not based upon the amount of your bill. The grant amount is determined by your consumption use, household size and household income.
12. Should I continue to pay my bill?
a. Yes, you should always continue to pay your bill on a monthly basis to avoid past-due balances. Ask your vendor about the budget plan to make your payments affordable to your needs.
13. How long of a process is this?
a. Processing your application can take anywhere from one to six weeks, depending on the number of applications received in the office. Applications are processed in a first-in, first-out priority.
14. What if I receive a disconnection notice?
a. First, contact your vendor to arrange a payment plan.
b. Submit an application for energy assistance and include a copy of your disconnect notice with the application.
c. If your disconnect notice is within the current billing cycle, Tri-CAP will contact your vendor upon receiving your application.
d. If the vendor informs Tri-CAP that they are willing to schedule a payment plan with you, your application will be processed in the first-in, first-out priority within one to six weeks. If Tri-CAP is not able to negotiate with your vendor, your application will be processed within 18 to 48 hours, if funding is available.
15. What if I am having problems with my furnace?
a. If you are having furnace problems, are the homeowner and have been approved for energy assistance, contact our office first. Someone in our office is available 24/7. If you have not been approved for energy assistance, you will need to apply and be approved. We are unable to pay for work not authorized by our office.
State of Minnesota Department of Energy http://mn.gov/commerce
State of Minnesota Department of Commerce https://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/energy-assistance/
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