By Sen. Joe Hune
As we all know, Michigan winters are some of the coldest in our country. So I would like to remind all Michigan families to do their best to ensure their family’s warmth this winter.
During such tough economic times, some struggling families in Southeast Michigan may be in need of heating assistance programs. Such programs are offered by several organizations, including utility companies and charitable organizations.
If you are unable to pay your current utility bill the first step is to call your utility provider and inquire as to any assistance programs that may be available. Being proactive could save your life by ensuring the heat stays on.
Further, The Winter Protection Plan safeguards seniors and low-income customers of regulated natural gas and electric companies from service shutoffs and high utility bills between Nov. 1 and March 31. The plan allows eligible seniors and low-income customers to avoid shutoffs while paying nothing or a small percentage of their annual bill during the protection period. To apply, contact your natural gas or utility company.
This deferment plan should help alleviate the burden of high utility bills in the winter. After the protection period, participants must pay off any winter balances owed between April and November.
Under some circumstances the state of Michigan can provide assistance for those who can generally make payments but may need help due to an unexpected emergency. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/heatingassistance. At this site you can also find information about the Michigan Home Heating Credit.
Finally, those still in need of heating assistance may contact The Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency by visiting www.smcaa.com.
Families in need of help with home heating or other programs may always contact my office for assistance toll-free at 1-855-563-4863 or by email at SenJHune@senate.michigan.gov.