State officials say Minnesota is getting $144.5 million from the federal government to help low-income residents pay heating bills.
The amount is almost double what the state received last year. It's the state's share of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
The money will help Minnesota families who earn less than 50 percent of the state's median income. For a family of four, that's a little more than $39,000.
The individual grants will average about $500.
Some counties are already seeing a large number of applications for heating assistance.
Olmsted County's Energy Assistance Program coordinator says she's received almost 1,100 applications since Sept. 15. Ann Crowe says that's about 300 more than she had at this time last year.