MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans who have trouble paying their energy bills will be protected from the cold again soon.

Xcel Energy said the Cold Weather Rule will go into place starting on Tuesday, Oct. 15. The rule helps protect those who can’t afford their bill from getting their service disconnected during the winter months.

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The Cold Weather Rule will remain in effect until April 15.

Eligible customers need to take a few steps to ensure that protection.

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First, they need to show that disconnection would affect their primary heating source. They also need to commit to a monthly payment that won’t go above 10 percent of their household income. And if they get a notice of proposed disconnection, they must immediately contact the utility company and commit to a payment plan.

Xcel Energy said it will refer customers to local community energy assistance programs, if necessary.

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For more information on the Cold Weather Rule, customers can call Xcel Energy’s 24-hour residential customer service line at 1-800-895-4999.