Winter Disconnect Protection

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule states that an electric utility must not disconnect and must reconnect the service of a residential customer during the period between October 1 and April 30 if the disconnection affects the primary heat source for the residential unit and all of the following requirements are met:

  • The customer’s account is current for the billing period immediately prior to October 1 or the customer has entered into an acceptable payment arrangement and is reasonably current with payments under this arrangement.
  • The household income of the customer is less than 50 percent of the state median income as documented by the customer to the utility.
  • Utility disconnection would affect the customer’s primary heat source.
  • The customer has declared inability to pay on forms provided by the utility.
  • The customer has to pay at least 10 percent of monthly income or the full amount of the utility bill, whichever is less.

ERMU notifies all residential customers of the above requirements and will also provide customers with referrals to energy assistance, weatherization, conservation, or other programs likely to reduce the customer’s energy bills.


The Cold Weather Rule provides you with these rights and responsibilities:

  • The Right to declare your inability to pay your utility bill.
  • The Responsibility, if you choose to declare inability to pay, to complete the Inability to Pay form and return it to ERMU within 10 days.
  • The Right to a mutually acceptable payment agreement with ERMU. This payment agreement will cover your existing arrears plus estimated usage during the payment agreement period.
  • The Responsibility to provide documentation to ERMU or your local assistance provider that your household income is less than 50 percent of the state median income.
  • The Right to appeal a notice of involuntary disconnection of service to ERMU. If a customer chooses to appeal, the customer must send ERMU written notice of the basis of the appeal and the issues in dispute.

View state income guidelines for Cold Weather Rule qualifications.

Download and complete the Inability to Pay application.

You may qualify for local energy assistance programs. Learn more

If you know that you will have trouble paying your utility bill, please contact a Customer Service Representative at 763.441.2020 to work out a payment arrangement.

Thermometer in snow