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State Establishes Public Propane Hotline
January 31, 2014
The office of Governor Mark Dayton has announced that the State Emergency Operations Center has established a public hotline for Minnesotans with propane issues or questions. The Hotline will operate Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Minnesota residents with questions about the current propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel can call 651-297-1304 in the metro area or 1-800-657-3504 in greater Minnesota.
The hotline is staffed with experts from the Minnesota Department of Commerce who can provide information about Energy Assistance Programs, connect callers with resources in their home county, and provide other information.
Governor Dayton declared a State of Peacetime Emergency in Minnesota on Monday in response to the persistent cold weather and the increased risk that households may run out of heating fuel, a situation that would pose an immediate threat to public safety.
People who use propane to heat their homes are being advised to take several steps at this time: conserve energy as much as possible; turn down thermostats and be aware of propane use; check in on family members, neighbors and friends; and call the State Hotline if needed.
People also may turn to alternative heat sources to stay warm. Residents are reminded to use caution when using other heating sources. Any heating appliance with an open flame needs to be vented to the outside because the combustion process of burning fuel uses oxygen and gives off carbon monoxide. This can be a deadly combination inside of a home. Other safety tips include keeping anything flammable, including pets and people, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment; making sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off; checking cords to make sure they are in good shape; and turning portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Space heaters need constant watch and should never be placed close to a sleeping person.
Those who need help to pay heating bills may find resources through the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) program, administered by the Department of Commerce. This helps low income households, especially those with seniors, children, veterans and people with disabilities with their heating bill. Money is still available for households that have not applied. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced LIHEAP crisis payments would increase from $500 to $1,000 for applicants heating their homes with propane and heating oil. The crisis payments could be available as early as next week.
Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. A list of local service providers and information on applying for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program is available online at http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/consumers/Heating-Assistance/ (or) by calling 1-800-657-3710.
Deb Purfeerst, Community Health Services Director, (507) 332-5914