ST. PAUL, MINN. – Thanks to quick action by the Senate and House, Minnesotans who heat their homes using propane won’t be left out in the cold. The emergency $20 million bill that funds the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was passed by the Senate on Thursday. The bill will ensure that low income households across the state can pay for their heating fuel through the rest of the winter.
“My first priority was making sure that Minnesotans are taken care of and can stay warm in their own homes. This propane crisis has disproportionally affected rural and Northern Minnesotans – however I want to caution that this bill is a short-term solution to a much bigger problem. Not even the law of supply and demand justifies a 500 percent increase in cost,” said Sen. Tomassoni.
LIHEAP is a federal program that helps low-income households all across the state with their heating bills – and the program has been put into overdrive this winter due to the propane shortage and skyrocketing prices. Propane costs have risen from $1.55 per gallon wholesale last fall to almost $5 per gallon, with most of the increase coming recently.
Senator Tomassoni urges those experiencing propane shortages to call the State Emergency Operations Center’s (SEOC) public propane hotline (1-800-657-3504) for help. This hotline operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The hotline connects callers with resources in their home county and can provide other information as well.
Information about applying for the LIHEAP program is available online at: http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/consumers/Heating-Assistance/ or by calling 1-800-657-3710. Other forms of assistance may be available through county social service programs, community-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies. See the Stay Warm Minnesota webpage for a list of resources.