(WXYZ) — The State of Michigan is outlining protections and assistance available for DTE Energy and Consumers Energy customers.
DTE and Consumers have stopped service disconnections and are extending flexible payment plants for low-income customers, seniors and those impacted by illness or job losses related to the pandemic.
“Michiganders are tough, and we will get through this emergency by helping one another,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “We are fortunate that utilities across Michigan have stepped up with proactive policies to assist those in need during this crisis.”
Utilities have instituted policies to help protect vulnerable customers during the crisis.
Additionally, state leaders say funds are available through partnering organizations to help eligible customers who are behind on their utility bills.
The Department of Health and Human Services will streamline the application process for its primary energy assistance program, State Emergency Relief.
“We encourage anyone who anticipates difficulty paying their energy bills not to wait, and to reach out to their utility company as soon as they can to work out payment options,” said Sally Talberg, Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, which regulates investor-owned energy companies in Michigan. “Each utility may vary, but whether you a have medical or financial need, payment protections and assistance are available.”
Those who use propane for home heating are also eligible for income-based assistance programs. Custoemrs with heating costs that they are unable to pay should first contact their energy supplier and explain the situation before they run out of fuel.
- More assistance:
- Call 2-1-1 or click on www.mi211.org to learn about agencies in your county that may assist with your energy bill.
- State Emergency Relief (SER) may help low-income households pay part of their heating or electric bills, assist in keeping utilities in service, or have service restored. The program is available year-round. Call your local Department of Health and Human Services office for information or apply on MI Bridges. Households must apply for SER assistance prior to receiving any Michigan Energy Assistance Program services.
- The Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) works with households to provide supplemental bill payment assistance and self-sufficiency services to low-income residents statewide. At the time of SER application, applicants will be able to choose a MEAP provider to work with. A list of organizations that deliver MEAP services can be found on the MPSC’s website. MEAP grantees are all community partners with MDHHS and can help applicants to navigate the MDHHS application process.
- Home Heating Credit qualified persons may receive a credit to help pay winter heating bills. Apply for a Home Heating Credit if you are low-income or receive public assistance or unemployment compensation. Eligible customers must meet guidelines based on household income, exemptions and heating costs. You must apply by Sept. 30 each year. The application form (MI-1040CR-7) can be requested from the Michigan Department of Treasury at 517-636-4486, or visit website at www.michigan.gov/treasury.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
See all of our Helping Each Other stories.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.