Cold Weather Rule
The Cold Weather Rule protects some members from having their electricity shut-off due to non-payment between October 1 and April 30.
Can my heat be shut off in the winter?
Yes. The Cold Weather Rule still allows electricity to be shut off for non-payment. You will only be protected if electricity provides your primary source of heat AND you have done all the following things:
- Your household income meets the state guidelines (at or less than 50 percent of the state median income)
- You provide Runestone Electric with a completed Inability to Pay Form; and
- You have a payment arrangement with REA for which you have remained reasonably current
What must I do to receive shut-off protection?
If you are behind in your electricity payments and you will not be able to catch up, your first step is to call Runestone Electric Association.
We don’t want to shut off anyone’s electricity. We will work with you to set up a payment arrangement or help you to see if you qualify for shut-off protection. Click here for a list of Energy Assistance Providers that can help with your energy bills. It is up to you to contact them for help.
Will you disconnect me without my knowledge?
No. You will receive a “Notice of Disconnection.” The letter will contain an Inability to Pay Form for you to complete and return. There will also be a list of rights and responsibilities for you as well as the Cooperative and a list of agencies that may help you. If you receive a Notice of Disconnection, you MUST take the next step and call us and the agency that serves your county to see if they can help you.
We will not disconnect electricity without first notifying you by letter. We also attempt to make phone calls if we have correct phone numbers. We will not shut off electricity on a Friday, a weekend, or the day before a holiday.
If my electricity has been disconnected, how can I be reconnected?
In order to re-establish power, contact Runestone Electric at 320-762-1121 or 1-800-473-1722 for the total balance due, which will include additional fees and a deposit.
For more information please visit: MN PUC Shutoff Protection
Notice of Residential Customer Rights and Possible Assistance
Important Fuel Assistance, Cold Weather Rule and Disconnect Policy Information This notice informs you of your rights and responsibilities under the Cold Weather Rule. They are designed to help you with high winter electric bills. You must act PROMPTLY. If you choose not to assert your rights or choose not to enter a mutually acceptable payment plan, your service may be disconnected.
An electric cooperative must not disconnect and must reconnect the utility 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 the following conditions are met:
(1) The household income of the customer is at or below 50 percent of the state median household income. Income verification can be obtained on the Income Verification Form (reverse side of this form) or obtained from the local energy assistance provider. A customer is deemed to meet the income requirements of this clause if the customer receives any form of public assistance, including energy assistance, that uses an income eligibility threshold set at or below 60 percent of the state median household income;
(2) A customer enters into and makes reasonably timely payments under a payment agreement that considers the financial resources of the household and
(3) A customer receives referrals to energy assistance, weatherization, conservation, or other programs likely to reduce the customer’s energy bills.
If a residential customer must be involuntarily disconnected for failure to comply with the above, the disconnection will not occur: (1) On a Friday, unless you decline to enter into a payment agreement offered that day in person or by personal contact. (2) On a weekend, holiday, or the day before a holiday; (3) When the utility offices are closed; (4) After the close of business on a day when disconnection is permitted, unless a field representative who is authorized to enter into a payment agreement, accept payment and continue service, offers payment agreements. (5) Until at least twenty (20) days after the postmark on the notice to disconnect or until fifteen (15) days after the notice and information has been personally delivered.
Prior to the disconnection of service, a customer has the RIGHT to appeal the disconnection of service to the Runestone Electric Association Board of Directors. If you choose to appeal, you must deliver or mail a personal letter stating your situation and issues in dispute. Your letter must be in our hands before the date of disconnection. You will be notified when the Board of Directors will review your appeal and you may be present at the review. No disconnection of service will take place during the appeal process.
Energy Assistance Providers Serving Runestone Electric Association:
- Douglas, Grant, Pope and Stevens Counties:
West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc – (218) 685-4486 or 1-800 492-4805
- Todd County:
Todd County Social Services – (320) 732-4516 or 1-888-838-4066
- Otter Tail County:
Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership, Inc. – 1-888- 458-1385
Detroit Lakes: (218) 847-1385
Fergus Falls: (218) 739-3011
IF YOU DO NOT MEET ALL THE CONDITIONS OF THE COLD WEATHER RULE AS OUTLINED ON THE REVERSE SIDE, YOU DO NOT QUALIFY FOR WINTER SHUTOFF PROTECTION. However, you still can continue to receive electric service if you call us to set up a mutually acceptable payment arrangement. Call Runestone Electric Association at 1-800-473-1722 BEFORE the due date.
IF YOU MEET ALL OF THE CONDITIONS OF THE COLD WEATHER RULE, CAN’T PAY YOUR ELECTRIC BILL, AND NEED COLD WEATHER PROTECTION FROM UTILITY SHUTOFF, fill out the Income Verification form below and return it to REA immediately.
Read the Notice of Residential Customer Rights and Possible Assistance BEFORE completing this form.