This holiday season there’s no need to search store shelves for that special gift because Gifts of Energy from Consumers Energy make an excellent choice for everyone from senior citizens to college students.
They can help warm a home for a relative, friend, co-worker, neighbor, service provider or just someone who may be in financial need.
Many service clubs, charitable organizations and emergency responders such as fire departments, value Gifts of Energy and purchase multiple certificates to provide to neighbors in need.
Certificates never expire and are available in amounts of $10, $20, $25 and $50. Gifts of Energy can be mailed with monthly Consumers Energy bill payments, and the amount is deducted from the bill total. Certificates cannot be redeemed for cash.
Gifts of Energy don’t include the buyer’s name so they’re perfect if you want to anonymously help someone in your family, your neighborhood or place of worship.
Gifts of Energy can be purchased directly at all Consumers Energy bill payment offices, at participating credit unions or through the mail by sending a check or money order. Requests can be sent to: Consumers Energy, P.O. Box 30079, Lansing, Mich. 48937-0001.
Credit Unions Selling Consumers Energy Gift of Energy Certificates
- CP Federal Credit Union (several Jackson locations, plus Brooklyn and Parma)
- ELGA Credit Union (Burton, Davison and Flushing)
- Clawson Community Credit Union (Clawson)
For more information, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/energygift.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Below is a story from a Consumers Energy employee, who works in customer service and a story from MLive: Consumers retiree and World War II veteran was a prisoner of war. See bottom for special payment assistance plans available to military families and veterans.
Military Experience Helps in Customer Service
After graduating from college with a Fine Arts degree, Michelle had a hard time finding a job in her field. She opted to join the Navy in 1987 and spent the next nine years working as a Cryptologic Technician, encoding and decoding classified messages.
When Operation Desert Storm began, she was stationed in Wahiawa, Hawaii at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, where satellites on land were used to communicate with naval ships. Michelle was responsible for stopping unnecessary communication so ships in the Indian Ocean could send secure messages to shore.
After Hawaii, Michelle was stationed in Guam for two-and-a-half years, where she experienced an earthquake that measured 8.2 on the Richter scale and seven typhoons.
“This is really where I can tie back my time with the Navy to working at Consumers Energy,” she said. “I can appreciate what our customers are going through when natural disasters hit and the power is out. We had to work with local residents to provide assistance and share power sources from the base.”
DID YOU KNOW? Military families and veterans are eligible for special payment assistance with Consumers Energy and the state of Michigan. See more payment assistance plans for all customers at http://www.ConsumersEnergy.com/assistance.
Shut-off Protection: Active Duty in the Military
If you or your spouse is the Consumers Energy customer of record and is called to full-time active military service by the president of the United States or the governor of Michigan during a time of declared national or state emergency or war, you may apply for shut-off protection for up to 90 days and you may request an extension of this protection by reapplying. You still will be required to pay for the energy you used during your participation in this program. Call us at (800) 477-5050.
Michigan Veteran’s Trust Fund
Temporary assistance for emergencies or hardships, including energy assistance, is available to eligible wartime veterans and their families in Michigan. Contact: http://michigan.gov/dmva or (517) 284-5299. County Contacts for Veterans with Emergencies
There is still time for qualifying Michigan residents to apply for help in paying their heating bills. Consumers Energy encourages qualifying residential customers to file for a State of Michigan Home Heating Credit for 2012. Deadline to file is Sept. 30, 2013 if they have not yet received the credit this year.
Home Heating Credit Claim form (MI-1040CR-7) and booklet.
Since January, more than 81,600 Consumers Energy customers have received a credit on the average of $136 per household.
Last year, nearly 403,000 Michigan residents received $58 million in aid through the Home Heating Credit program, which is funded by the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Home Heating Credit is based on household size and income. It can be applied to all heating costs, including propane and purchased firewood. Applicants do not need to file a state tax return to receive this credit.
For customers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties, free filing assistance is still available at 5 metro-area locations through the Accounting Aid Society at 1-866-673-0873.
Consumers Energy can provide applicants with their annual heating cost, required on the form (Line 11), by calling 800-477-5050. Additional information for Consumers Energy customers on how to apply for a Home Heating Credit is available on the payment assistance section of our website.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
More than 1,000 Consumers Energy employees and their family and friends recently united at events around the state and raised $112,000 to help warm Michigan homes.
“Every dollar raised will go toward helping our most vulnerable customers, including those who are elderly and disabled, and those who can’t afford to pay their heating bills,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience and operations.
Consumers Energy recently joined local Community Action Agencies to support 31 Walk for Warmth events across Michigan. Consumers Energy matched all funds raised by employees and any participating family and friends, thereby doubling heating assistance for those in need.
With ongoing budget pressures at the federal and state level, there is an uncertainty in the amount of authorized public heating assistance dollars to go around. That has led to Walk for Warmth events playing an increasingly important role in assisting Michigan families.
“Consumers Energy’s support for Walk for Warmth is a great example of corporate citizenship,” said Mike Shalley, communications director for the Michigan Community Action Agency Association. “The company and its dedicated employees really came through on their promise to serve the community, including those who are facing very tough times and need a little help to make ends meet.”
Michigan nonprofit organizations received $10 million in contributions in 2012 from Consumers Energy, its employees, retirees, its Foundation, and the utility’s parent company, CMS Energy. Half of the contributions in 2012 went to organizations that provide direct assistance to those in need including: The Heat And Warmth Fund (THAW), The Salvation Army and TrueNorth Community Services.
During February, which Governor Snyder has designated Keep Michigan Warm Month, Consumers Energy is alerting qualifying Michigan residents that help with their heating bills may be available through a Michigan Home Heating Credit as well as a federal Earned Income Credit.
Last year, more than 402,000 Michigan residents received a combined total of $58 million in aid through the Home Heating Credit program, which is funded by the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Last year’s average credit was $144. The Home Heating Credit can be used for all types of primary heating fuel, including natural gas, propane and purchased firewood. Renters may also qualify for the credit. You do not need to file a state tax return to apply. Though the deadline to file is Sept. 30, 2013, applicants are encouraged to file early.
“Tax season is an ideal time to file since free preparation assistance is available throughout much of the state,” said Whitney Skeans, Consumers Energy’s customer assistance coordinator. “For help locating the free tax site nearest you, you can simply dial 2-1-1, the health and human service equivalent of 9-1-1 spearheaded by the United Way.”
Instruction booklets and forms are available online or by calling the Michigan Department of Treasury at (517) 636-4486. More than 75 percent of the HHCs were e-filed in 2012. For those people who file a tax return, the Michigan Department of Treasury encourages them to e-file their returns because it speeds processing and reduces errors for the HHC. To find an authorized e-file provider and information on free e-file services, visit Treasury’s website: MIFastFile.org. Forms also are available at most public libraries, Secretary of State branch offices and Department of Human Services branch offices
The federal Earned Income Credit is another refundable federal income tax credit available to qualifying low-income taxpayers. It must be filed during tax season. For income guidelines, contact your employer, call the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-3676, or visit www.irs.gov.
Additionally, Consumers Energy is hosting Accounting Aid Society IRS-certified volunteers to assist southeast Michigan residents with free tax preparation each Saturday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at two of the utility’s wheelchair-accessible locations: at the Clinton Township service center, 35350 Kelly Road, until April 13 by appointment only (586-265-5697); and at the Pontiac service center, 1030 Featherstone Road, until March 30 on a first come first served basis. Other locations for free tax filing assistance through the Accounting Aid Society can be found by calling 866-673-0873, or statewide through Michigan VITA.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
If you are active in the military, have suffered a job loss or are dealing with high or unexpected medical bills, emergency and ongoing aid may be available to better help you manage your Consumers Energy bills and meet other needs.
Just choose from more than 20 payment options and assistance programs offered by Consumers Energy, the state of Michigan and other agencies online and in the utility’s new resource guide. For more than 100 ways to save on your energy bill, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/energyanswers.
If there’s a Consumers Energy program you’re interested in, call us with questions or to enroll. Additional assistance may be available by calling 2-1-1 or contacting one of the other programs or agencies listed.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Cold weather is heading to Michigan. For those in need, colder temperatures are a brisk reminder of the challenge of meeting basic needs. That’s why The Salvation Army and Consumers Energy are teaming up to encourage customer contributions to the PeopleCare program.
About 10,000 families each year in Michigan receive emergency help of some kind through PeopleCare – everything from as simple as a bus ticket to a child’s first pair of eyeglasses. With significant cuts in various public assistance programs, particularly federal programs, and the slow economic recovery for many lower income households, the need is expected to be great this year.
Consumers Energy will again provide $1.5 million dollars in energy bill credits to PeopleCare over the 2012-2013 heating season. WLNS TV6 – Salvation Army Receives Energy Bill Credits from Consumers Energy. A special PeopleCare appeal is featured in the utility’s bill message being received in October by 2.9 million customers. We also will match our employee donations during October.
Customers can support PeopleCare’s work of helping Michigan families through a variety of channels. You may donate $3 a month or make a one-time donation of $5 by checking one of the boxes at the top of your October utility bill. If you’d prefer to contribute a different amount, you can make an online donation at www.usc.salvationarmy.org/peoplecare, or write a check to PeopleCare and mail it to the address below:
c/o The Salvation Army
PO Box 27518
Lansing, MI 48909
“Michigan’s struggling economy has impacted all residents, especially those on limited income, our seniors, and the unemployed,” said Whitney Skeans, Consumers Energy’s customer assistance coordinator. “With cold weather fast approaching and growing numbers of families receiving slimmer public assistance, it’s a critical time for private help to step in and help fill gaps. Every penny to PeopleCare does just that, helping our families and neighbors with quick, direct assistance for any emergency need, skillfully assessed and delivered by The Salvation Army.”
Since it was established in 1983, PeopleCare through the work of The Salvation Army has helped nearly 340,000 households in communities across Michigan. Consumers Energy employees and customers have donated over $16 million to support PeopleCare, and the utility has contributed $31.5 million in energy bill credits, for total support of $47.5 million dollars. To learn more about how the program works and read scenarios of families helped by PeopleCare, or to download a brochure, visit www.consumersenergy.com/peoplecare.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Qualifying residential customers who have not yet received a Home Heating Credit this year are encouraged to file before September 30, 2012. The Home Heating Credit is based on household size and income. It can be applied to all heating costs, including propane and purchased firewood. Applicants do not need to file a state tax return to receive this credit.
“With federal funding cuts for utility assistance anticipated this coming winter, the time to act is now,” said Whitney Skeans, Consumers Energy’s customer assistance coordinator. “Since January, over 130,000 Consumers Energy customers have received a credit on the average of $148 per household. When you consider that this represents about two months of heating cost, it’s no small change. Indeed, every bit helps.”
Last year, more than 484,000 Michigan residents received $66.8 million in aid through the Home Heating Credit program, which is funded by the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
We can provide applicants with their annual heating cost, required on the form, by calling the utility at 1-800-477-5050. Additional information for our customers on how to apply for a Home Heating Credit is available by visiting our website.
The Home Heating Credit Claim form (MI-1040CR-7) is generally available wherever other tax forms are provided. You also may get forms from the Michigan Department of Treasury at (517) 636-4486, at www.michigan.gov/heatingassistance, at Consumers Energy bill payment offices, at our website, or by calling us at (800) 477-5050. For customers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties, free filing assistance is available at 5 metro-area locations through the Accounting Aid Society (1-866-673-0873).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Recently, The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) designated 211 Northeast Michigan Call Center as the 2-1-1 answering points for 65 exchanges in Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Crawford, Huron, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, Saginaw and Tuscola counties. It currently provides 2-1-1 coverage for 34 exchanges in Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella and Midland counties. With this move 94.5% of Michigan is now covered by 211.
The abbreviated dialing number 2-1-1 has been assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enable callers to reach community resource and referral answering points. In 2011, some 480,000 calls were made to 2-1-1 in Michigan, with questions related to utility assistance being the number one reason for calls.
The 65 exchanges are: Akron, Alpena, Atlanta, Au Gres, Auburn, Bad Axe, Bay City, Bayport, Brant, Caro, Caseville, Cass City, Chester, East Tawas, Elkton, Fairgrove, Fairview, Frankenmuth, Gagetown, Gaylord, Glennie, Grace Harbor, Grayling, Harbor Beach, Harrisville, Higgins Lake, Hillman, Hubbard Lake, Kinde, Kingston, Lachine, Lewiston, Lincoln, Linwood, Long Lake, Manistee River, Minden City, Mio, Munger, Omer, Onaway, Oscoda, Ossineke, Owendale, Pigeon, Port Austin, Port Hope, Posen, Prescott, Reese, Robbs Creek, Rogers City, Roscommon, Rose City, Saginaw, Sebewaing, Sixty Lakes, St. Charles, St. Helen, Sterling, Twining, Ubly, Unionville, Vanderbilt, and Vassar.
The MPSC notes that their approval is provisional, in part, due to the FCC’s ability to recall the 2-1-1 number. The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed today as Community Action Day in Michigan. The proclamation recognizes the state’s 29 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and their work in all 83 counties to help Michigan families become more economically self-sufficient. In the proclamation, Gov. Snyder cites the role of Community Action Agencies in early childhood development, senior services, affordable housing, food assistance, and energy assistance programs.
“We raise awareness of the important work of promoting economic security and ensuring all citizens have the opportunity to improve their lives and living conditions,” said Gov. Snyder.
James E. Crisp, executive director of Michigan Community Action Agency Association, feels Community Action Agencies are contributing to Michigan’s economic recovery. “They help the working poor, the elderly and disabled, and many of our out of work neighbors marshal resources to get out or stay out of poverty,” he said. “We are proud to have their work recognized by the Governor.”
The Michigan Community Action Agency Association is the state association of 29 CAAs in Michigan. CAAs are community-based organizations whose governing boards consist of representatives from the private sector, local government, and low-income residents. For more information or to find the CAA serving your area, visit www.mcaaa.org
Congress this year declared May as National Community Action Month in recognition of the more than 1,000 similar agencies across the country. Community Action has roots dating back to the 1960s when they were designated as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty movement.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
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