With 20 days until utility shut offs, officials point those behind on bills to resources

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If you have fallen behind on your utility bills, it is time to catch up.

A moratorium that prevented companies from turning off the utilities of those who haven’t paid their bills during the pandemic is coming to an end on July 26th.

Fortunately, there are resources out there for those who have fallen behind.

One resource is Rent Help MN—a program created to help Minnesotans who have fallen behind on rent and utilities as a result of the pandemic.

To qualify, tenants must be:

  • Renting from a property owner
  • Impacted financially by COVID-19
  • Have an income at or below 80% of the area median income in their community
  • Be behind on their bills.

Both AICHO and One Roof Community Housing are offering people help navigating this resource.

Comfort Systems says the sooner people reach out to get this help, or set up a payment plan directly through them, the better.

“A lot of them are helping with the full amount, so a lot of the rent help money is taking and paying full amounts on back utilities,” Courtney Gallo, Utility Operations Paralegal with the City of Duluth said.

Gallo added that this money is not finite, so people should take advantage of the help while they can.

"We don’t know how long it’s going to be around for, so please just apply for it now, get caught up now. Don’t get into a position where it’s going to be an insurmountable amount," Gallo said.

Minnesota Power is also working to connect with customers who have fallen behind on their bills to set up payment plans.

They offer a care program that gives income-qualified households a discount on monthly electric bills and refers people to the state’s low income energy assistance program.