Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for August, 2020

Three Rivers CARES Fund

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

New assistance programs available to help cover housing-related expenses for individuals and families impacted by COVID-19 Olmsted County COVID-19

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

ROCHESTER, Minn. – New programs are being implemented by Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance to help individuals and families adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: the Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program and the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP)

Funds will assist those impacted by job loss, reduced work hours, illness, or other COVID-19 related circumstances. Assistance will cover past due rent payments, mortgage payments, homeowner association dues, contract for​ deed payments, homeowner insurance payments, utility payments, ​or other housing-related expenses that incurred after March 1, 2020. 

“We encourage any Olmsted County resident who has been impacted by the pandemic and unable to make housing-related payments to apply for both programs,” said Olmsted County Director of Family Support and Assistance Corrine Erickson. “Depending on the circumstances of the request, our eligibility specialists will help determine which program best meets the needs of the situation.”

Erickson says this is a way Olmsted County can help improve the quality of life for Olmsted County residents during a very challenging time.

“We’re here to serve families and to help the most vulnerable populations in our community,” explained Erickson. “Not only will these programs help these individuals, but it will also help keep our landlords whole.”

Anyone eligible for this assistance is encouraged to apply for both programs now. There are two different applications to be completed:

Eligibility details

You must be an Olmsted County resident, meet income guidelines, and have a qualifying expense that is past due because of the public health emergency due to unemployment, loss of income, illness, or other COVID-19 related issue.

Eligible expenses

COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) funds may be used only for past due housing- and utility-related expenses. Only past due amounts incurred since March 1, 2020 will be considered. To learn more about CHAP, visit the Minnesota Housing website.

Payment processing

Olmsted County eligibility specialists will review all applications, verify proof of income and past due expense(s), and interview the head of household by phone. If an individual or household has a qualifying expense, funds must be paid directly to the landlord, mortgage company, utility company, or any other identified entity to which the payment is owed. Assistance WILL NOT be paid directly to individuals or households.

Application deadline

Applications for both programs are being accepted now and eligible individuals are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

How to apply

  • To apply online for Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance, visit ApplyMN. If you do not wish to apply online, you may download the application and return it to Olmsted County by: 
  • Emailing
  • Mailing them to 2117 Campus Dr SE Suite 100 Rochester, MN 55904.
  • Dropping them in the yellow drop box in the 2117 Campus Dr. SE parking lot.
  • To apply for COVID-19 Housing Assistance, visit or text “MNRENT” or “MNHOME” to 898-211. You may also call 211 (Toll free: 1-800-543-7709).

Note: No matter how you apply, it is important to provide Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance with proof of household income for the last 30 days and verification of the past due expense. 

Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance contact information

  • Call 507-328-6500 (bi-lingual staff and interpreters are available).
  • Email questions and completed documents to
  • Fax: 507-328-7956.
  • Mail: 2117 Campus Dr. SE Suite 100, Rochester, MN 55904.

Please note: The 2117 Campus Dr. SE building is currently closed to public access, but staff are available by phone. If you have any questions, please contact 507-328-6500 or email  

The Olmsted County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program is funded by county, state, and federal dollars allocated to Olmsted County through several sources including the Minnesota Housing COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program; Olmsted County Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding; as well as other County Emergency Assistance allocations. 


About Olmsted County

Olmsted County is the eighth largest county in the state of Minnesota with eight cities (Rochester being the largest), 18 townships and approximately 150,000 residents (2016 census data). The county is governed by seven individuals elected to serve on the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners, and county services are supported by nearly 1,300 Olmsted County government employees working to provide the foundation of a vibrant community. For more information, visit   

Limited funding is still available for small business utility support

Friday, August 21st, 2020

RPU is continuing its effort to reach out to small business customers in Rochester. Limited funding is still available to help offset the impact of the pandemic.  A utility bill credit of 25% of the average annual bill may be possible before October 15th.

The response for financial support from small businesses has grown to nearly $350,000 in utility bill credits.  Small business customers are encouraged to get their applications in as soon as possible to take advantage of this limited help.

Small businesses that fall under the definition of a targeted business owned by women, minority or veterans are highly encouraged to get their applications in soon.

RPU to use Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to help small business customers with utility bills

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) announced today that a portion of the funding from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) allocated to the city of Rochester, will go towards helping local small business customers pay their utility bills.

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act enacted on March 27, 2020, has appropriated $150 billion to the CRF, which can be used towards paying customer utility bills that incurred during the period of March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Rochester has already received over $8.8 million CRF dollars from the State. Monday afternoon, the Rochester City Council approved a plan for RPU to work with qualifying small business customers to utilize $500,000 for utility bill payments.

In addition to providing assistance to locally owned small businesses, the program also has designated funding for women, minority, and veteran owned local businesses (WMBE).

“We encourage all RPU small business customers that meet the criteria for application to apply for assistance. These times have been difficult for many of our small business customers and we have listened to them. With this program, we wanted to ensure that it was an easy, straight-forward application process and that it was equitable for all,” said Krista Boston, RPU Director of Customer Relations. 

The launch date for this program was August 4, 2020. Applications must be submitted for approval by October 16, 2020.

Full program details, applications, and eligibility requirements can be found on the RPU website at

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 50,000 customers. Water customers number more than 40,000. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.