Financial Assistance Available to Help with Utility Bills

November 30, 2020

As temperatures decline, the cost of heating starts to increase. During the cold weather months, some Stearns Electric member-consumers might experience difficulty in paying their electric bills. We know that COVID-19 has created additional financial hardships, placing an even larger burden on families already struggling to pay their bills or bring their accounts current.

If you have a past-due balance with the Cooperative, or you are concerned about how to pay for heating costs this winter, there are some new resources available to help those in need.


A Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funded program, known as
the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) has allocated $100 million in Minnesota to cover housing expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities or other housing-related expenses. Funds are available through December 31, 2020, on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible utility expenses include gas, electric, water and sewer. Propane is currently ineligible. Only past-due expenses incurred on or after March 1, 2020, and before Dec. 20, 2020, are eligible.

To learn more about the CHAP program or to apply for assistance:


The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) is a federally funded program through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which helps low-income renters and homeowners pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs. Household income must be at or below 50% of the state median income ($54,357 for a family of four) to qualify for benefits. Applications must be received or postmarked by May 31, 2021.

To learn more about the EAP program or to apply for assistance:

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule also helps to protect and reconnect residential heat from October 15 through April 15.

Stearns Electric exists because of you, and we are dedicated to the people and communities we serve. If you are having difficulty paying your electric bill and do not qualify for either of these programs, please contact us at (800) 962-0655 to set up a Cold Weather Rule payment plan.