Be WinterWise

Unmet needs for energy assistance are historically high in the State of Michigan. Winter heating bills can certainly impact the household budget if the members of the home aren't conscious of their energy usage. On this page you will find suggestions for saving energy, links to informational Consumer Tips, and a wide range of other helpful consumer resources. We all need to "Be WinterWise" of natural gas, propane, and heating oil prices.

Important Notice:
All energy-related Department of Health and Human Services State Emergency Relief (SER) requests, except in special cases involving health and safety concerns, must fall within the crisis season, which now runs from November 1 through May 31 each year. Some other community organizations and agencies are trained to help you complete the online application for State Emergency Relief. Find help near you at www.mibenefitsaccess.org

Low income customers may be eligible for other assistance through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program. Seventy percent of MEAP funds must be expended during the crisis season but additional funding may be available after May 31st. Customers should contact 2-1-1 or their utility to see what programs are available in their area

Investigate the following tips to ensure a warm and cozy winter.

Shut-Off Protection - Senior citizens, low-income customers, and military personnel may qualify for shut-off protection through various programs. Contact your utility company.

Plan Ahead - Many utility companies have Budget Billing Plans that can spread out your peak winter heating bills, allowing for a more affordable monthly bill during the heating season. Contact your utility company to find out if they offer Budget Billing.

Use Energy Wisely - Reduce your energy use. More information on ways to conserve can be found by following the "Energy Savers" link below. Many utility providers also have programs to help make your home more energy efficient, so your energy bills will be lower. Contact your utility provider to ask about these programs.

Request Assistance - Qualifying seniors and low-income customers may be eligible for financial assistance.

The goal of the new assistance programs is to move customers to self-sufficiency. Therefore, customers no longer need a shut-off notice or MDHHS denial to qualify for assistance.

If you're behind on your energy bill, you can apply for help in paying off your past-due balance starting Nov.1st if your income is below 150% of the poverty level.

Call 2-1-1 or click on www.mi211.org/ to learn about agencies in your county that may assist with your energy bill.

Be Helpful - Share this information with family and friends! If you are able, help your neighbors and donate to organizations that provide energy assistance.

Be Proactive - Contact your utility company as soon as you know you will be unable to pay your bill on time. Do not wait for a shut-off notice.

 

Programs

Budget Billing Plan
Take the seasonal ups and downs out of your energy bills and pay the same amount each month. Contact your gas or electric company to enroll.

State Emergency Relief
Income-eligible households may receive assistance with heat or electric bills during extreme hardship or for emergencies that threaten health and safety. Contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to learn more. Call 2-1-1 to learn about other energy assistance programs.

Michigan Energy Assistance Program
The Michigan Public Service Commission administers the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). The purpose of the MEAP is to establish and administer programs statewide that provide energy assistance and self-sufficiency services to eligible low-income households. 

Military/Veteran Assistance
Families of Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel can receive emergency financial assistance to pay electric, oil, gas, and other heating fuels. Contact the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Medical Emergency Protection
Protections are available for those in a medical emergency, whose health would be aggravated by lack of utility service; and critical care customers, whose medical equipment or life support system would be immediately life-threatening without utility service. Contact your gas or electric company for more information.

Utility Energy Efficiency Programs
Income-eligible households can receive free caulking, weather stripping, insulation, and more to help conserve energy. Visit our Energy Waste Reduction page for additional information.

 

 

Additional Resources

Helpful Links