Tenants in an 11-unit apartment building in Minneapolis lost heat last Thursday. Happy Holidays from Center Point Energy! Of course, Center Point only shut off the heat because the landlord (Donald Christopher according to Hennepin County Property Records) had more than $10,000 in outstanding bills.
The Cold Weather Rule in Minnesota can prevent utility shut-offs during the winter months, but the bill-payer must contact the utility to ask for protection and arrange a payment plan. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has an excellent FAQ and a brochure (PDF) on the Cold Weather Rule.
In a case like this, where the landlord was supposed to be paying the bill, tenants can band together to take over the utility bill and deduct utility payments from their rent. In this case, that would be a hefty bill, but a group of tenants can take advantage of the Cold Weather Rule to arrange a payment plan and keep the heat on.
The Cold Weather Rule doesn’t really work | City Pages Blotter
(photo: Wikimedia Commons)