Cold Weather Rule
The Cold Weather Rule, Section 216B.097 of the Public Utilities Act, provides that from October 15 through April 15, an electric cooperative cannot disconnect a residential consumer for nonpayment if the disconnection would affect the primary heat source, and all of the following conditions are met:
- You declare an inability to pay by completing the Inability to Pay Form.
- Provide proof of last three months of total gross household income.
- Your total gross household income, not individual income, is less than 50 percent of the state median income, or you are a current recipient of any public assistance with qualifying income requirements, including energy assistance.
- Your account is current or reasonably on time with a payment plan or you make and keep a mutually acceptable payment plan at any time that considers the financial resources of the household.
ECE works with members during the Cold Weather Rule period, just as we do throughout the year. We do not want to interrupt service to any member. However, in a cooperative, all members suffer when bills remain unpaid. Compensation for uncollectible accounts eventually must be absorbed by members who pay their bills faithfully each month. Although ECE would rather work with members to establish and maintain fair and reasonable payment schedules, in fairness to all members, disconnection must be made when necessary, within the limits of the law. Before disconnecting electrical service to any residential member between October 15 and April 15, East Central Energy will provide proper notification, and we'll suggest actions to prevent service disconnection.
Download the Minnesota Cold Weather Rule: Disconnect Notice of Residential Member Rights and Possible Assistance brochure and Inability to Pay Form.
(Minnesota and Wisconsin Energy Assistance phone numbers can be found on brochure.)
Although Wisconsin laws do not provide cold weather shut-off protection, East Central
Energy abides by the same cold weather collection practices in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
If you have questions regarding payment policies or the Cold Weather Rule, please call ECE at 1-800-254-7944.
Energy Assistance Program income guidelines