Fall is almost upon us. As the leaves start to change, the crisp temperatures will soon follow. Before we know it, our winter clothes will need to come out and so will our heavy blankets. During this time of year, it is especially important to Consumers Energy to take care of senior citizens.
Top 10 Ways to Protect Senior Citizens During Cold Months
We have many payment assistance options and services to prepare seniors for unexpected weather conditions or life changes. If you’re 65 or older and the head of the household, you may qualify for:
This service provides protection from shut-off for seniors during the harshest months, Nov. 1-March 31. The plan requires
- Initial down payment of 10 percent of your total bill
- Participation in a Budget Plan that spreads out your annual energy costs into equal payments plus equal monthly payments on your past-due balance
- TO ENROLL: (800) 477-5050
Third Party Notification
With your written authorization, Consumers Energy can send a copy of any shut-off notice you receive to a third party like a consenting friend, relative or agency. While the third party contact is not responsible for paying your bill, they may act as a liaison between you and Consumers Energy.
Winter Protection Plan (WPP)
Participation in this plan prevents service shut-off and high payments during the winter (Nov. 1 to March 31). The plan requires:
- An initial down payment of 1/12 of any past due bills
- From November through March, you’ll pay 7 percent of your estimated annual bill plus a portion of any past-due amount
- When WPP ends March 31, you must pay your full monthly bill, plus part of the amount you owe from the winter months when you did not pay in full
- At the end of the WPP period, you must make arrangements to pay any money owed before the start of the next protection period
- Enrollment begins Nov. 1. TO ENROLL: (800) 477-5050
This program involves charitable giving to The Salvation Army from Consumers Energy customers, employees and retirees. The donations help people and families with emergency needs like food, clothing, transportation, shelter, home heating and medicine.
If you need more time to pay your bill, visit eServices to make Payment Arrangements or call (800) 477-5050.
External sources of assistance for senior citizens in Michigan:
This is a free phone service available to 99 percent of Michigan. The service links people with information or agencies that helps with utility assistance and other needs. Visit uwmich.org/2-1-1 for more information.
The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW)
This service provides emergency help to low-income families and individuals in Michigan who are in danger of losing heat or electricity during winter. Learn more about THAW at (800) 866-THAW (8429).
Home Heating Credit (HHC)
To apply for a Home Heating Credit, you must meet the income guidelines and own or rent the home where you live (excludes rented apartments and mobile homes). Forms are available wherever other tax forms are provided. The annual deadline to apply is Sept. 30.
Elder Law of Michigan
Senior Citizens and people with disabilities can get help paying for the cost of important basic needs like food, medicine, healthcare, utilities, housing and taxes. For more information, call (800) 347-5297 or visit www.elderlawofmi.org/benefits.
Other Energy Assistance Programs
Learn more about heating assistance programs provided by the state of Michigan for income-qualified households.