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Home Energy, Telephone, and Internet Assistance Information for Customers

We all need a little help sometimes.  Last year, hundreds of thousands of Michiganders received help with their telephone, broadband, or home energy bills or received shut off protection for their utility service. If you need help, you are not alone. Read on to learn about available help, shut off protections, and how to apply. If you have questions, call us and one of our dedicated staff members will help put you on the right path to getting the help you need.

An arm clasping another arm, helping to lift them up

How do I apply for home energy assistance?  

You may be eligible for home energy assistance if your income falls below 150% of the Federal Poverty level and you have

  • received a past due notice from your electric or natural gas utility,
  • received shut off notice from your electric or natural gas utility, or
  • have a need for home-heating fuel (propane, fuel oil, wood)

To find out if you qualify for payment assistance, take the following steps:

  • Apply for State Emergency Relief 

    Reach out to a MIBridges Navigator or dial 211 from your phone for help with your application

    To apply for SER, you will need

    • Social Security Numbers and birthdates for all household members
    • A past due notice or shut off notice
    • Household income and expense information
  • Once you have applied for SER, contact your utility to make them aware of your SER application. The utility should put a shut off hold on your account while your application is being reviewed.
  • Community Organizations, including MEAP Grantees, may be able to help with 

    • Required SER co-pays
    • Assistance for those denied SER
  • If you need additional help, dial 211 on your phone or visit www.mi211.org to be connected with an agency that may be able to assist

What types of assistance programs are available? 

A graphic of a house wrapped in a scarf wearing a knit hat
Several State of Michigan and utility assistance programs exist to help customers who are struggling to pay their home energy bills.  The table below provides a summary of these programs.  If you have received a past due or shut off notice, apply for State Emergency Relief today. 

Types of Assistance Programs

Assistance Program

Program Summary

Program Offered by

Who Qualifies

How to Apply

State Emergency Relief Program (SER)

SER helps with energy related expenses including some home repairs

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

To qualify for SER, a customer must:

  • Have an income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level and
    • A past due notice or a shut off notice from their utility, OR
    • A declared need for a deliverable fuel such as propane; OR
    • A verified need for energy-related home repair
  • No more than $15,000 in cash assets and $15,000 in material assets

Apply online at http://michigan.gov/mibridges. If you need help applying, visit https://newmibridges.michigan.gov/
s/isd-find-community-partners
to find a community partner who can help with your application

Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP)

The MEAP provides energy assistance programs with a focus on self-sufficiency including payment assistance, arrearage assistance, and energy efficiency services

Michigan Public Service Commission

To qualify for MEAP, a customer must have received assistance through the State Emergency Relief Program.

After applying for SER, reach out to 2-1-1 to be connected with a MEAP grantee.

The Home Heating Credit

Provides a credit for income qualified customers

Michigan Department of Treasury

To qualify, a customer must

Complete and submit the Home Heating Credit form available at www.michigan.gov/treasury between January 1 and September 30.

Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF)

The MIHAF provides mortgage and utilities assistance to homeowners facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority

Homeowners who

  • Own and occupy the home as their primary residence; and
  • Have and explain a financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 which occurred on or after January 21, 2020; and
  • Have an income at or below 150% of the Area Median Income.

Apply online at MSHDA - MIHAF (michigan.gov) or call 1-844-756-4423

Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Emergency Grant Program

This grant program provides temporary assistance to veterans and their families facing a financial emergency or hardship including the need for energy assistance

Michigan Veterans Trust Fund

Contact the MVTF county committee serving the county where you reside or fill out and submit an Emergency Assistance Form.

Residential Income Assistance Credit

Provides a bill credit for qualifying customers to help lower their energy bill

  • Consumers Energy (Electric & Gas)
  • DTE Energy (Electric & Gas)
  • Indiana Michigan Power
  • SEMCo Gas
  • Alpena Power
  • Northern States Power (Xcel Energy) Electric
  • Michigan Gas Utilities

Customers of participating utilities who have an income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level or who participate in Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Contact your utility for more information.

Call your participating utility

Low Income Assistance Credit

Provides a monthly bill credit of $30 - $40 for qualifying customers

  • DTE Energy (Electric & Gas)
  • Consumers Energy (Electric & Gas)
  • SEMCo Gas
  • Michigan Gas Utilities

Select customers of participating utilities who have an income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level or who participate in Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Additional qualifications may apply. Contact your utility for more information.

Call your participating utility

Senior Credit

Provides a bill credit for customers 65 and older

  • DTE Energy
  • Consumers Energy
  • Michigan Gas Utilities

Customers who

  • Are 65 years or older; and
  • Have notified their utility of their eligibility

Call your participating utility

Are there protections against having my service shut off?

Yes!

In addition to energy assistance, customers may qualify for utility shut off protections.  Some protections require that a customer sign up for a payment plan with their utility.  These protections are established through state law and Commission rules.  Some of these protections may not be offered by municipal electric utilities or electric co-operative utilities.

Learn more about shut off protection programs below.  Contact your utility or the MPSC with any questions about these protections.

A small house icon being held and sheltered by a set of hands

Utility Shutoff Protection Programs

Shutoff Protection Program

Protection Summary

Who Qualifies

How to apply

Low Income Winter Protection Plan

  • Protects income qualified customers against utility shut off from Nov. 1 to March 31
  • Customer must meet certain bill payment obligations during the protection period
  • At the conclusion of the protection period, customer must arrange to pay all outstanding bills before the next heating season
  • Customer must pay at least 7% of the estimated annual bill each moth
  • Any arrearage must be paid in equal monthly installments from the application date until the beginning of the next heating season
  • Customers at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty level
  • Customers who receive any of the following services
    • MDHHS cash assistance
    • SSI
    • SNAP
    • Medicaid
  • Customers must
    • provide proof of income eligibility and
    • demonstrate they applied for state or federal heating assistance.

Contact your utility company to verify eligibility and set up a payment plan.

Senior Citizen Shutoff Protection

  • Protects customer 65 years and older from utility shut off from Nov. 1 – March 31
  • Customers 65 years and older

Contact your utility company to verify eligibility

Medical Emergency Protection

  • Provides a 21-day shutoff hold where a customer or member of their household experiences a medical condition that would be made worse by a lack of utility service
  • The protection may be extended up to 63 days per household member up to 126 days per household.
  • Customers who experience, or have a household member that experiences, a medical condition that will be made worse by a lack of utility service
  • Protection must be certified by a physician or public health official

Complete the Medical Certification Form and submit it to your utility.

Critical Care Protection

  • Provides shutoff protection where a disruption of utility service would be immediately life threatening to the customer or a member of their household.
  • Customers who use, or who have a household member that uses, home medical equipment or a life support system.
  • Status as a critical care customer must be certified annually
  • The protection must be certified by a physician or public health official.

Complete the Medical Certification Form and submit it to your utility.

Active-Duty Military Shutoff Protection

  • Provides a 90-day shutoff protection for utility customers and their spouse where either is called to full-time active military service under certain circumstances
  • Military members or their spouse who are called to active duty by the President or Governor during a national or state emergency or war

Contact your utility company

 

Are there income limits for payment assistance or shut off protections?     

Each payment assistance program and shut off protection program has different requirements to qualify.  Many programs set income limits to qualify. We have provided the current income guidelines for many of these programs below.  For other program conditions, see the program summaries above.

Customers at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level may qualify for payment assistance, shut off protections, or both.

INCOME GUIDELINES (2022-2023)

Number of Household Members

150% of Poverty Guidelines Maximum Income

1

$20,385

2

$27,465

3

$34,545

4

$41,625

5

$48,705

6

$55,785

7

$62,865

8

$69,945

Add $7,080 for each additional household member.

 

Customers at or below 110% of the Federal Poverty Level may qualify for the Home Heating Credit.

INCOME GUIDELINES (2022-2023)

Number of Exemptions

110% of Federal Poverty Guidelines Maximum Annual Income

0-1

$14,949

2

$20,141

3

$25,333

4

$30,525

5

$35,717

6

$40,909

7

$46,101

8

$51,293

Add $5,192 for each additional exemption

 

How can I reach out to my utility?        

You can find contact information for electric utilities at our Electric Utility Addresses & Contacts page.

You can find contact information for natural gas utilities at our Gas Utilities in Michigan page.

You may also reach your utility through the contact information provided in your bill.

I need help with my telephone or broadband internet bill.    

Affordable Connectivity Program

A globe crisscrossed by lines connecting points of light, representing the internet The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) helps households get and afford the broadband internet service they need for work, school, healthcare and more.

The ACP offers

  • Up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households
  • Up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount up to $100 on the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.To receive this discount, the customer must pay $10 - $50 of the purchase price.

Households may receive one device discount and one monthly service discount.

More information about the ACP and how to qualify can be found at the following links:

If you currently have broadband service, contact your provider to see if they participate in the ACP.

Wi-Fi Hotspot Map 

A series of WiFi icons, over a background of various technology-related symbolsMany publicly available hotspots exist around the state. If you need to go online but don’t have home internet, take advantage of publicly available Wi-Fi.

The State of Michigan and Connected Nation Michigan developed a statewide Wi-Fi hotspot map to help Michiganders who do not have home internet access find a hotspot site near them.

Lifeline

If you need help paying for telephone or broadband internet service, you may qualify for the Lifeline program.  This program provides a monthly discount on these services. The Lifeline discount can be combined with the Affordable Connectivity Program discount for even more help.  To find a participating Lifeline provider, see our Michigan Lifeline providers list.

You can learn more about the Lifeline program on our Lifeline program webpage.