Help available to users during propane shortage

Representative, District 12B

Eligibility has been expanded for the state’s heating assistance program to help a greater number of people who are facing rising heating costs, namely due to a propane supply shortage.

This comes just after the state also set up a consumer hotline and made more money available for people who heat their homes with propane and heating oil..

A top priority of mine during the 2014 legislative session will be to find ways of protecting ourselves from propane crunches like this in the future. These high prices are unaffordable for many citizens, creating financial problems and safety hazards during these cold winter months. It also is difficult for livestock operators who rely on propane to heat their barns.

Here is some information that propane users find helpful.

• How to Apply for Heating Assistance. Qualifying households must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Minnesota has 32 local service providers statewide. A list of local service providers and guidance for how to apply for assistance is available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website or by calling (800) 657-3710. Eligibility guidelines can be found here.

• Propane Shortage Hotline. Last week, the state of Minnesota established a toll-free hotline that Minnesotans affected by the propane shortage can use to ask questions or seek assistance in this time of emergency. As of Thursday morning, that hotline has received over 1,750 calls from Minnesota citizens in need of assistance to find and afford the propane needed to heat their homes, businesses and farms.

Minnesotans with questions about the current propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel should call (800) 657-3504 in Greater Minnesota or (651) 297-1304 in the Twin Cities. The hotline operates daily between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.