JACKSON — Federated Rural Electric reports that Individuals experiencing difficulty paying their electric bill may benefit from the Energy Assistance Program (EAP), which helps pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified homeowners and renters.

EAP primary heat grants range from $200 to $1,600 depending on family size, income and energy costs. In addition to primary heat grants, crisis-benefit grants are also available. For the second year in a row, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has increased the maximum annual crisis-benefit grants for qualifying households from $600 to $1,200.

Despite the large infusion of dollars into the EAP program, applications for primary heat benefits are down by about 10 percent and applications for crisis benefits are down by about 30 percent. The EAP application deadline is May 31, but may be extended until July 1.

To learn more about the EAP program or to apply for assistance, visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Assistance website at https://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/energy-assistance/ for more details and to access the application portal. Jackson County members may apply by calling the United Community Action Program at 1-800-658-2448.

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule also helps to protect and reconnect residential heat from Oct. 15 through April 15. Individuals having difficulty paying an electric bill and don’t qualify for these programs are encouraged to contact Federated to set up a Cold Weather Rule payment

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plan. Call (507) 847-3520 or 1-800-321-3520, or e-mail billing@federatedrea.coop.

To learn more and apply, visit mn.gov/commerce/eap.jsp.