Cold Weather Rule & Extreme Heat Law

Are you having trouble making your electric payments? During the winter months, you may be protected from disconnection through the Cold Weather Rule; in the summer months, the Extreme Heat Law may also apply.

Couple examining their monthly bills

No matter the time of year, Wright-Hennepin is always willing to work with members to avoid the disconnection of the members’ electric service. In order to avoid disconnection, members must contact Wright-Hennepin’s credit department at (763) 477-3000 to make payment arrangements.

Can my electricity still be disconnected while the Cold Weather Rule or Extreme Heat Law is in effect?

Yes, your electricity may still be disconnected. To avoid disconnection, you must make and keep a payment arrangement with Wright-Hennepin’s credit department.

How do I avoid my electricity being disconnected?

If you are unable to pay your electric bill in full during times when Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule or Extreme Heat Law are in effect, you must complete the below “Inability to Pay Application” and email it to or mail it to:

Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association
Attn: Accounts Receivable
PO Box 330
Rockford, MN 55373

Inability to pay application in English.

Incapacidad para pagar la solicitud en español.

What if I have a medical condition that requires electricity to sustain life?

Per the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, “Minnesota law requires a utility to reconnect or continue service to a customer’s residence where a medical emergency exists or where medical equipment requires electricity to sustain life," but you must provide to Wright-Hennepin written certification (or initial certification by telephone followed by written certification within five (5) business days) that failure to reconnect or continue service will impair or threaten the health or safety of the member or a resident of the member’s household. Certification may be provided by a licensed medical doctor, a licensed physician assistant, an advanced practice registered nurse, or a registered nurse, but only to the extent of verifying the current diagnosis or prescriptions made by a licensed medical doctor.

Please ensure you have filed a critical services physician form with Wright-Hennepin.

How are other Wright-Hennepin members affected if I don’t pay my bill?

We don’t want to interrupt service to any member, but in a cooperative, all members are affected when any bill remains unpaid. Unpaid bill costs are absorbed by members who faithfully pay their bills each month, which could result in a rate increase for all members.

When is the Cold Weather Rule in effect?

The Cold Weather Rule is in effect October 1 to April 30 of every year.

When is the Extreme Heat Law in effect?

The Extreme Heat Law is weather-dependent (i.e., when an excessive heat watch, heat advisory, or excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service is in effect in affected counties).

What if I would like to file an appeal regarding a disconnection?

You may file an appeal to the Wright-Hennepin Board of Directors, who govern the cooperative. The best way to do so is via email to

Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule 216B.097

The Cold Weather Rule states that an electric utility 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 of the following conditions are met:

  • The customer enters into and makes reasonably timely payments under a payment agreement that considers the financial resources of the household.
  • The household income of the customer is at or below 50 percent of the state median household income. The utility may verify income on forms it provides or obtain verification of income 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 50 percent of the state median household income.
  • The customer receives referrals to energy assistance, weatherization, conservation, or other programs likely to reduce the customer's energy bills.

Residential rights and responsibilities

The Cold Weather Rule provides you with these rights and responsibilities:

The Right to declare your inability to pay your utility bill.

The Responsibility, if you choose to declare an inability to pay, to complete the Inability to Pay Application and return it to Wright-Hennepin within 10 days.

The Right to a mutually acceptable payment agreement with Wright-Hennepin. This payment agreement will cover your existing arrears plus estimated usage during the payment agreement period.

The Responsibility to provide documentation to Wright-Hennepin, or your local energy assistance provider, that your household income is less than 50 percent of the state median income.

The Right to appeal a notice of involuntary disconnection of service to the cooperative. If a customer chooses to appeal, the customer must send the cooperative written notice of the basis of the appeal and the issues in dispute.

Minnesota’s Extreme Heat Law 216B.0975

A utility may not effect an involuntary disconnection of residential services in affected counties when an excessive heat watch, heat advisory, or excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service is in effect.

Energy Assistance and Weatherization Contacts

State Office

Energy Assistance
(800) 657-3710

Carver County

Social Services
(952) 361-1600

Community Action Ptn.
(952) 960-9700

Hennepin County

CAP-HC Energy Assistance Program
(952) 930-3541

Emergency Assistance
(612) 596-1300

Meeker County

Energy Assistance
(320) 693-7911
(320) 235-0850

Stearns County

Energy Assistance Tri-Cap
(320) 251-1612

Social Services
(320) 656-6000

Wright County

Community Action
(320) 963-6500

Emergency Assistance
(800) 362-3667

Heat Share/Salvation Army

(800) 842-7279
(612) 721-1668