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The Right Connection - Utility Assistance



Utility Assistance

Click on each title below to see detailed information.

If a person/family has received a shut off notice from a utility company, they should first contact the utility company to negotiate a payment plan to stop the shut off.

If the person is an eligible low-income customer whose service has been shut off for non-payment of their bill before applying for Winter Protection, they may enroll in the program by paying 1/2th of any past due amount.  They will not be required to pay a security deposit or fee for restoring their service.  The 6% required monthly payment will be billed to them on their next monthly bill.  Although the company may bill the 1/12th overdue amount, they cannot shut off service if the customer fails to pay it each month.  A customer cannot have their energy shut off if they pay at least 6% of their estimated annual bill each month. When the program ends on March 31st, the customer must begin to pay the full monthly bill plus a portion of the amount owed from the winter months.  For more information, call about the "Winter Protection Plan" through your local energy company:

Consumers Energy (800) 477-5050
www.consumersenergy.com
Detroit Edison (800) 477-4747
my.dteenergy.com
SEMCO Gas Company (800) 624-2019
www.semcoenergygas.com
If the utility company will not work with the family, then the following resource is the starting point to prevent the shut off:

Go to the local Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) office to get help or a referral to any other Macomb utility assistance programs, even if the family does not qualify for any DHHS services.


Department of Human Services
 

Mt. Clemens District
(586) 469-7700
serving Chesterfield Twp., Clinton Twp., Harrison Twp., Mt. Clemens, New Baltimore, St. Clair Shores.
 
Sterling Heights District
(586 254-1500

serving Armada, Memphis, Lenox Township, New Haven, Richmond, the Macomb County section of Rochester, Romeo, Roseville, Utica Washington.
Warren District
(586) 427-0600

serving Center Line, Eastpointe, Fraser, Roseville, and Warren.


 

Financial Assistance for energy shut offs – The Heat And Warmth Fund (THAW) Program eligibility (FY 2016-2017):

  • Total owing cannot exceed $3,000 for combined (heat and electric) accounts

  • Account must be in the applicant’s name; if the account is not in the applicant’s name he/she must accept responsibility for the bill with a valid ID or Driver’s License

  • The person at the appointment MUST have all required documents needed on their behalf

  • A signed letter from the account holder granting them permission to apply on their behalf

  • Account must be residential (not a commercial account)

  • Applicant must pay illegal or unauthorized usage charges and security fees

  • Accounts MUST have a past due balance (usage arrearage)

  • If services are not restored within 30 days of THAW commitment, funds will be removed from account. Clients must have active service within 30 days.

  • Clients must have made a payment on the account within the last 6 months ($450 on combined accounts, or $225 on single accounts). If not, the co-payment must be paid before THAW can process the application. (If a client faces hardship making the required co-pay, THAW program managers will process and approve exceptions on a case-by-case basis.)

INCOME REQUIREMENTS

A household is income eligible with an income of not more than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. 2016 Federal Poverty Guidelines for monthly income:

Family 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
Income $1,485.00 $2,002.50 $3,037.50 $3,555.00 $4,072.50 $58,159 $4,591.25 $5,111.25
For each additional household member, add $520

To find a THAW screening site near you call the referral line at (800) 866-8429 and press 1 anytime during the message. When prompted, use your touch tone key pad to enter your zip code. Have paper and pencil ready, you will be provided with a list of THAW sites accepting applications in your area. Website:  http://www.thawfund.org/ If there is no THAW site in your area, contact your utility provider, local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or community services agency for further assistance:

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

Mt. Clemens District
(586) 469-7700
serving Chesterfield Township, Clinton
Township, Harrison Twp., Mt. Clemens, New Baltimore, St.
Clair Shores

Sterling Heights District
(586) 254-1500
serving Armada, Chesterfield 48051,
Lenox, Macomb, Memphis, 48041,
New Haven, Ray, Richmond,
Rochester 48306, Romeo, Shelby,
Sterling Hgts., Utica, Washington.

Warren District
(586) 427-0600
serving Center Line, Eastpointe,
Fraser, Roseville, Warren.

MCCSA COMMUNITY ACTION CENTERS

North Center, New Haven 
(586) 749-5146
serving Armada, Bruce Twp., Chesterfield, Macomb, Shelby Twp., New Baltimore, Lenox, Memphis, New Haven, Ray, Richmond, the Macomb section of Rochester, Romeo, Washington. (Communities north of 23 Mile Road)

Central Center, Mt. Clemens 
(586) 469-6964
serving Clinton Twp., Fraser, Harrison Twp., Mt. Clemens, Chesterfield, Shelby, Macomb, New Baltimore, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Hgts., Utica

(Communities north of 14 Mile Road and south of 23 Mile Road)

South Center, Warren
(586) 759-9150
serving Center Line, Eastpointe,
Roseville, and Warren

(Communities south of 14 Mile Road)

Assurance of no service shut off for 21 days for persons with a qualifying, documented temporary medical emergency (written proof from a doctor that a medical emergency exists is required).  Customers whose service was shut off before the medical emergency may have their service restored for up to 21 days with no required payment, restoration fee or deposit.  Medical emergencies can be extended for up to 63 days.

Consumers Energy

(800) 477-5050

www.consumersenergy.com

Detroit Edison

(800) 477-4747

my.dteenergy.com

SEMCO Gas Company

(800) 624-2019

www.semcoenergygas.com

Shut off protection for up to 90 days (extensions may also be requested) for a person in the military or their  spouse called to full-time active military service by the President or the Governor during a time of declared national or state emergency or war is available from:

Consumers Energy (800) 477-5050 www.consumersenergy.com
Detroit Edison (800) 477-4747 my.dteenergy.com
SEMCO Gas Company (800) 624-2019 www.semcoenergygas.com

"More Than 100 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill"

http://www.consumersenergy.com/uploadedFiles/CEWEB/SHARED/more-100-ways-save-on-bill12-06.pdf         

Weatherization of homes is available for low income persons/families, including caulking, weather stripping and insulating.  Available from Macomb Community Action Centers:

Central Community Action Center Mt. Clemens (586) 469-6964
North Community Action Center New Haven (586) 749-5146
South Community Action Center Warren (586) 759-9150
Fixed monthly payments (“Budget Plan”) with the same costs for gas and electric services year round despite changes in the weather is available for Consumers Energy, (800) 477- 5050.

Help to pay your winter heating bills is available for seniors, low income individuals/families (110% of poverty     guidelines), those receiving public assistance, or those receiving unemployment compensation by filing a home heating credit.  Forms are available from the Michigan Department of Treasury (800) 367-6263 or at www.michigan.gov.treasury or at Consumers Energy bill payment offices. The form may be filed as early as January but before September 30th.

Special tax benefit for low income people who work full or part-time.  Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund.  Even a person who does not generally owe income tax may get a credit, but must file a tax return to do so.  Individuals may apply for an Earned Income Credit with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service by filling out Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EIC form.  Application forms can be requested from the IRS at (800) 829-1040 or at www.irs.gov/individuals/credit.

A year round protection plan from shut-off is available to customers with a household income at or below 200 percent of the federal income eligibility guidelines.  The plan requires an initial down payment of 10 percent of your total bill Participating in a budget plan that spreads our your annual energy costs into equal payments plus equal monthly payments on your past-due balance. There is no online application. For more information call Consumers Energy, (800) 477-5050.

Service shut-off protection and protection from high payments during the winter months of November 1 - March 31 (“Winter Protection Plan”). Customers are responsible for electricity and natural gas used, but some of the costs can be deferred to future billings. Registration begins November 1. Participation does not relieve customers from the responsibility for paying for electricity and natural gas usage, but may prevent shut-off during the winter months. Eligibility: a household income at or below 150 percent of the federal income eligibility guidelines, 65 or older, receipt of Department of Human Services cash assistance (including State Supplemental Security Income), food stamps recipient, or the person receives Medicaid. There is no online application. To enroll, call Consumers Energy, (800) 477-5050.

Winter Shut Off Protection for customers of record who are at least 65 years of age to set up a payment plan to keep their bill current and avoid the risk of service shutoff. To enroll, call SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company at (800) 624-2019.

Year-round protection from shut off if payments are maintained. This plan is designed to help DTE users manage their energy use by setting up a monthly payment plan. The past due balance is divided in equal installments for a period of 9 months to twelve months based on eligibility. The monthly payment amount is calculated based on the past due balance and projected future bills. For more information, contact DTE Customer Service, (800) 477-4747.

Protection for seniors and low-income customers from shutoff due to nonpayment between November 1 and March 31. During this period, customers must pay a budget amount that consists of a portion of their estimated annual bill plus regular payments on any past-due bills. After March 31, the required bill payment will increase to cover the winter bills and must be paid in full before the next heating season. Eligibility: age 62 or older, receive Department of Human Services cash assistance, receive Department of Human Services food assistance (FAP), receive Medicaid or meet 200% of the Federal Income Guidelines. For more information or to enroll, call between November 1 and March 31: DTE Energy, (800) 477-4747

Senior Winter Shut Off Protection - Customer of record is at least 65. Eligible customers may receive increased protection from gas service shut off during the heating season. Contact SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, (800) 624-2019.

Winter Shut Off Protection for households with income at or below 150 percent of poverty level, or if you are at least 65 or you receive assistance from DHS, including food stamps, SSI, or Medicaid. Each month of the heating season, qualified applicants will be required to pay 7 percent of their estimated annual heating bill, plus a portion of their arrears. After March 31, the payment amount will change. Winter Protection customers will pay their full monthly bill plus a portion of the balance remaining from the heating season. They may also choose to pay the remaining heating season balance or pre-enrollment balance and enroll in the Budget Billing Plan. Effective dates: November 1 - March 31. Applicants may enroll November 1 by making a required budget payment. To enroll, contact SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, (800) 624-2019.

A free SafeLink Wireless handset and free monthly minutes with no commitments, contracts, or bills (if you need additional minutes, buy TracFone Airtime Cards at any TracFone retailer).  Is available from Safelink, a federal program designed to ensure that telecommunication services are available to low-income customers at just, reasonable, and affordable rates.  Lifeline support reduces eligible low-income consumers’ monthly charges for basic telephone service.  To apply, go to:
www.safelinkwireless.com/EnrollmentPublic/how_to_apply.aspx
Affordable basic telephone assistance for low-income families (150% of the poverty guidelines).  The benefits vary depending on telephone service providers.  On average, most customers save about $100 off their annual telephone bills and approximately 50% off their local telephone installation charge, and have the option of blocking outgoing long distance calls free of charge.  For more information, contact the local telephone company and ask for the “Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program.” http://www.fcc.gov/lifeline
Free captions telephone that displays text of conversations in near real-time on a large color touchscreen so the person can see and hear what callers are saying is available to anyone with a hearing loss, regardless of their age, income, insurance or veteran status. The phone and service is paid for with federal funding. Available from ClearCaptions. To get a free phone, call Tracy Salisbury at (810) 360-9364 or tracy.dunk-salisbury@clearcaptions.com

Bill credits to help with energy bill payments is available to persons who have suffered a job loss, home foreclosure or are dealing with high or unexpected medical bills, emergency needs, such as food, clothing, transportation, shelter, home heating and medicine. The Salvation Army determines the People Care fund and assesses eligibility. For the information, contact your local Salvation Army office:

Salvation Army

55 Church St. Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

(586) 469-6712 

Salvation Army

42590 Stepnitz Clinton Township, MI 48036

(586) 954-1838 

Salvation Army

24140 Mound Rd. Warren, MI 48091

586) 754-7400 

Year-round to assist low-income households that have a shut-off notice. For more information, contact the nearest Department of Human Services (DHS) office, call their Energy Assistance Hotline at (800) 292-5650 or visit www.mi.gov/mibridges. Do not have to be a DHS client to apply.

Medical Emergency Protection - If a person has a qualifying, documented, and temporary medical emergency, he/she could be protected from energy shut-off for nonpayment of his/her bill for up to 21 days. The person must provide written proof from a doctor that a medical emergency exists. Available from SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, (800) 624-2019.

Shutoff protection for up to 90 days (extensions may be requested) for customers of record with the utility if called to full-time active military service by the President of the United States or the Governor of Michigan during a declared national or state emergency or war. Verification of active duty status may be required. Available from SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, (800) 624-2019.