For Release: 04/07/2011

Cold Weather Rule Period Ending - Utility Customers Need to Take Action on Their Account as Soon as Possible

With warmer weather and the end of the Cold Weather Rule period, customers with unpaid balances and without payment arrangements could lose service.

Rosemount, MN - Natural gas customers of Minnesota Energy Resources (MERC) who have fallen behind on their natural gas bills and have not made attempts to catch up could face disconnection of service, according to company representatives.

"Those customers that have made efforts to pay over the winter or have worked out a payment arrangement with us shouldn't be concerned," said MERC president Chuck Cloninger. "However, customers who have neglected to make regular payments during the winter and who expect the company to give them additional time to bring their account current could face disconnection, especially those customers who ignore their winter bill year after year."

Cloninger said that those customers with past-due balances should immediately take steps to pay the bill in full or set up a payment arrangement. Customers may call customer service at (800) 889-9508 to use the interactive voice response system, or by visiting the company website to make a payment or set up arrangements at: www.minnesotaenergyresources.com.

Customers who already received energy assistance or think they may be income-eligible should contact their local energy assistance agency immediately to apply for (additional) assistance, before funds are exhausted. Taking action as soon as possible could prevent service disconnection. If you are not sure which agency to contact, in your county, please see the list of the agencies and their telephone numbers on the Minnesota Energy Resources’ web site or call 1-800-657-3710 to access a county agency directory.

"Customers will find we offer options for payment; but the larger the balance, the larger those payments need to be," Cloninger said. "If there are extenuating circumstances that can be documented, we need to know about them."

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