skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Monday, April 15, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

25 million Blacks, Latinos missing from voter databases; major news organizations urge Biden and Trump to commit to presidential debates; NM gun-control advocates praise federal rule closing 'gun show loophole; Arkansas group raising awareness during Black Maternal Health Week.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

House Republicans want citizenship proof for federal election voting, under White House pressure Israel shows restraint after Iran's attack and Trump's hush money trial starts.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Winter is Coming: Help for Higher Heating Bills in MN

play audio
Play

Monday, November 7, 2022   

After warm a start to November, cooler temperatures have found their way back to Minnesota. That's prompting reminders for homeowners and renters to sign up for heating assistance if they're worried about difficulty paying their bills this winter.

Timing is important, given forecasts for higher natural gas bills in the U.S. this winter - including the Midwest.

Michael Schmitz - director of Minnesota's Energy Assistance Program - said so far, applications are running 10% to 15% higher than the same time last year.

But he said with annual federal funds, the state is prepared to meet the demand and those eligible shouldn't leave aid sitting on the table.

"If you're struggling to pay your energy bills or if you know somebody who's struggling - it might be a neighbor, a friend, a relative," said Schmitz, "I really encourage you to apply yourself or help those folks that you know who are struggling to apply."

The state will mail out an application, if requested. Minnesota's 24 community action agencies and 11 tribal governments can also assist with an application.

The Energy Information Administration says the Midwest is likely to see the biggest price hikes for retail natural gas this winter at 27%. Analysts say that's a main driver for higher energy bills.

Minnesota does have a cold weather rule aimed at preventing utility shutoffs during the winter months. But Schmitz cautioned it's not an automatic protection.

"You have to contact your natural gas or your electric utility company and request a cold weather rule payment plan," said Schmitz. "You have to establish that plan and keep it during the cold weather real season and the utility wouldn't be able to disconnect you as long as you're maintaining that plan."

He says signing up for heating assistance is a good way to prevent that scenario from happening.

Eligibility guidelines include income and household size.

Taking action also allows enrollees to seek out home weatherizing aid through a companion program. Those services involve making repairs and upgrades to make your home more energy efficient.




get more stories like this via email
more stories
In March, state Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, introduced House Bill 2063, which would reform the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs. (Jasmina/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

play sound

A new report analyzes Pennsylvania's existing voucher programs, that divert public funds to private schools. This comes on the heels of Gov…


Social Issues

play sound

A bill vetoed by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin would have raised the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour starting in 2026. While the bill moved out …

play sound

By Erin Aubry Kaplan for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Suzanne Potter for California News Service reporting for the Yes! Magazine-Public News …


There are more than 1,300 species listed as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, including the piping plover, a shorebird found on sandy beaches in southern Maine. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Conservationists in Maine said reinstated protections of the Endangered Species Act could help wildlife already struggling to adapt to climate change…

Social Issues

play sound

Haitian-led groups in Massachusetts are calling for a temporary pause in deportations as political instability and violence engulf the island…

Women ages 35 and older in Arkansas have the highest mortality rate, which was 3.9 times the rate of women younger than 25. (Andrey Popov)

Social Issues

play sound

Arkansas is taking critical steps to address its high maternal mortality rate, especially among women of color. In the Natural State, Black women …

Social Issues

play sound

In the midst of political tensions surrounding Israel's handling of the conflict with Hamas, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has voiced her support for …

Health and Wellness

play sound

As the country observes Autism Acceptance Month, Nebraska families raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder are among those learning they will …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021