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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The grace period for some Rochester Public Utilities customers is coming to an end.

Like other electric utilities around Minnesota, RPU did not disconnect customers who missed their payments during the pandemic. RPU recently adopted “an action plan to transition back to performing electric disconnects” beginning Aug. 2nd. RPU will waive late fees until next April and they will not be charged unless a payment arrangement has not been made or has been broken.

According to RPU, the average past due amount for residential customers has increased from $153 on February 29, 2020 to $414 on April 30, 2021.

RPU

RPU will continue its customer outreach effort to work with delinquent customers to establish a payment plan spread over 12 months to bring past due amounts current and will go beyond 12 months in some cases.

RPU

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced this week it has received an additional $167 million in federal funding for its Energy Assistance Program.

As a result, the program is open for applications all year. The Department is encouraging thousands of Minnesota households to apply, especially those with past-due energy bills who are at risk of utility disconnections.

A new report shows almost 340,000 Minnesota households served by regulated utilities have past-due utility bills for electric and gas energy, owing about $140 million.

Qualified households could receive up to $1,600 for energy bills and may qualify for an additional $1,200 to cover past-due bills.

By applying for energy assistance, households can also qualify for Minnesota’s Weatherization Assistance Program to pay for free home improvements to conserve energy and permanently reduce that home’s energy costs.

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