Town Talk: Where can I find help to pay my gas or electric bill?

Once the outside temperatures drop, sometimes customers struggle to pay their gas or electric bill. We have a few options that may assist our customers pay their bills.

Budget Billing Program

With the Budget Billing Program, monthly payments are based on your average usage for the last twelve months. When you are on the Budget Billing Program, each monthly bill shows your Budget Billing amount due, plus your actual utility usage and charges. This allows you to roughly levelize the bills and pay approximately the same amount every month based on last year’s usage. Billing will be adjusted to actual use typically in April or May. If your actual usage is more or less than last year’s usage, you may have an adjustment to the amount you owe for utility services. The Budget Billing Program is available to residential and commercial customers only. Please stop by our office at 100 N. Broadway for further details and eligibility. You may also call for further program details at (507) 359-8259.

Bill Payment Assistance

If you are unable to make a payment on your utility bill and need further assistance, you may qualify for state or federal assistance. The Minnesota Valley Action Council has programs that may help you pay your utility bill. The staff is very empathetic and will assist you if possible. If you are struggling to pay your bill, reach out to the Minnesota Valley Action Council prior to being disconnected. You can reach Minnesota Valley Action Council at (507) 354-3138.

Brown County Emergency Assistance may also be able to assist with your utility bill payments. You can reach the Brown County Emergency Assistance program at (507) 359-6500 or (800) 450-8246 for program details.

The Salvation Army has a HeatShare Program. You may reach them at (888) 999-1568 mention you are from Brown county and New Ulm Public Utilities, if you get a recording.

Friends helping Friends

Sometimes an anonymous donation made to a friend’s utility bill is a great gift. It may be enough to reduce the stress on your friend’s budget. I had a great aunt that was living on a fixed income. I reached out to her utility company and paid her expected utility bill. She didn’t know I paid it, but I am certain that I removed a slight amount of stress from her life. For some of us, a single act of kindness brings joy to the rest of our lives.

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

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