This past February had record-low temperatures in Michigan and many of our furnaces had to work on overdrive to keep up with the bitter cold.
We are working to ensure our customers get the best value for every energy dollar, and that includes helping our customers when times are tough. We’re also working with four nonprofit agencies that provide direct aid to help our customers, ensuring Michigan families stay safe and warm this winter:
- Michigan Community Action
- The Salvation Army
- TrueNorth Community Services
- The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW)
Consumers Energy also contributed an additional $5 million to expand our CARE program (Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy) to help customers afford and better manage their monthly energy costs.
Consumers Energy Payment Assistance
If you’re concerned you might have difficulty paying your energy bill, emergency and ongoing aid may be available.
1. Budget Plans and Protections
- Budget Plan: When you’re on the Budget Plan, you can spread out your annual energy costs into equal payments. The exact amount will vary from customer to customer.
- Third-party Notification: With your written authorization, we can send a copy of any shut-off notice you receive to a third party. This may include a consenting friend, relative or agency. Your third-party contact is not responsible for paying your bill, but may act as a liaison between you and Consumers Energy.
- Medical Emergency Protection: If you or a member of your household have a qualifying, documented medical emergency or require home medical equipment or life support, you could be protected from service shut-off for nonpayment of your energy bill for up to 21 days. You must provide us with written proof from a doctor or a notice from a public health official that service shut-off will aggravate an existing medical condition.
CARE provides a 40 percent credit on monthly bills for qualifying customers. The program also helps customers by forgiving any past due balance as a reward for consistent payment over the program year.. Apply today as space is filling quickly:
The WPP may protect low-income customers and seniors age 65 and older from service shut-off and high payments from Nov. 1 through March 31. Customers are responsible for electric and natural gas used. Costs deferred through the winter months will be reconciled and billed in April. Eligible customers may sign up for the Winter Protection Plan beginning Nov. 1.
This plan provides year-round protection from shut-off and is available to customers with a household income at or below 200 percent of the federal income eligibility guidelines.
If you or your spouse is the 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 of 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:
- Must provide verification of active duty status
- Notify us of your status at end of active duty
- Must pay for the energy used during participation in this program at end of active duty
Consumers Energy will set up a payment plan for all past-due amounts to be paid within one year.
Our Helping Neighbors program helps you save money through energy efficiency improvements. At no cost, households at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level can receive an on-site assessment, educational materials and energy saving products or services such as a furnace operations and maintenance tune-up. To learn more, visit ConsumersHelpingNeighbors.com or call (877) 448-9433.
Agency, State of Michigan and Other External Assistance Programs
Spearheaded by the United Way, 2-1-1 is a free phone service that links people with information or agencies that can help with energy assistance and other needs. Calls are confidential and answered 24/7. To get started, call 2-1-1 or visit mi211.org.
- The Salvation Army – PeopleCare
For more than 30 years, PeopleCare has been helping people and families with emergency needs like food, clothing, transportation, shelter, medicine and home heating. Consumers Energy customers and employees contribute to PeopleCare for the emergency services program, and the company provides bill credits to help with energy bill payments. The Salvation Army determines eligibility and distributes the aid. For more information, contact your local Salvation Army or visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/peoplecare.
Customers who meet household income guidelines may be eligible for bill payment assistance through THAW funds, administered by local agency partners throughout Michigan. For more information, call (800) 866-THAW or visit Thawfund.org.
You may apply for a Home Heating Credit for your 2014 primary heat source. To apply, you must meet the income guidelines and own or rent the home where you live (includes rented apartments and mobile homes). The deadline to file is Sept. 30, 2015. For more information, contact the Michigan Department of Treasury or visit Michigan.gov/treasury.
At Consumers Energy, safety is at the heart of everything we do, and that includes ensuring communities we serve stay safe and warm in the winter months. For more information on payment assistance programs, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/assistance.