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Cold Weather Rule

The Cold Weather Rule, Section 216B.097 of the Public Utilities Act, in effect from October 15 through April 15 in Minnesota, governs how we handle disconnects; it does not prohibit them. Electric cooperatives cannot disconnect a residential consumer for nonpayment if the disconnection would affect the primary heat source, and all of the following conditions are met:

  1. You declare an inability to pay by completing the Inability to Pay Form.
  2. Provide proof of last three months of total gross household income.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 encourage members to call us if they are struggling to pay their electric bill. We are here to help

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.)

Wisconsin residents
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

Minnesota Income Guidelines

Wisconsin Income Guidelines

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