LIHEAP: Fighting Poverty in Michigan
LIHEAP FY 2013 Benefit
Heating: $850 maximum
LIHEAP Households Served
(Estimate for FY 2013)
LIHEAP Program Dates
State LIHEAP Resources
Home Heating Credit
Basic maintenance benefits for LIHEAP are issued through the Home Heating Credit to all low-income households. The Michigan Department of Treasury determines eligibility and makes the payments. You do not need to file a state income tax return to receive the Home Heating Credit. You may apply for the Home Heating Credit only. Eligibility is based on income, number of exemptions and household heating costs. File by September 30 of the year following the tax year of the Home Heating Credit. For example, you must file by September 30, 2012 to be eligible for the 2011 Home Heating Credit. For more information and application refer to the Home Heating Credit website or call 517-636-4486 to have Home Heating Credit forms and instructions mailed to you. Forms and instructions are also available at Treasury offices and at most public libraries, Northern Michigan post offices, and Department of Human Services (DHS) county offices.
State Emergency Relief (SER)
SER provides a wide range of non-energy and energy-related emergency services. An application is needed to request assistance and an appointment is generally required. To apply, please contact the local DHS office in the county in which you reside. SER provides services such as payment for heating fuel, electricity and home repairs. For more information about the SER program refer to the State Emergency Relief website.
LIHEAP in the News
Michigan Utilities with Low-Income Rate Assistance
Arrearage forgiveness and deposit and fee waivers are provided by utilities that participate in the state’s automated positive billing system and other payment plans. Under positive billing, a participating household must pay a percentage of its monthly assistance grant to its utility.
Winter Protection Plan
This plan protects senior and low-income customers of Commission-regulated natural gas and electric companies, rural electric cooperatives and alternative electric suppliers from electric or natural gas service shut-off and high utility payments between November 1 and March 31. Persons qualify for the plan if they meet any of the following criteria:
- are age 65 or older, or
- receive Michigan Family Independence Agency cash assistance, or
- receive Food Stamps or Medicaid, or
- have a household income at or below 150 percent of poverty level.
Winter Protection allows eligible low income customers to make monthly payments of at least 7 percent of their estimated annual bill, along with a portion of any past-due amount, December through March, and avoid shut-off during that time even if their bills are higher. Eligible senior citizens participating in Winter Protection are not required to make specific monthly payments between December 1 and March 31, but are encouraged to do so to avoid higher bills when the protection period ends. At the end of the protection period, both low-income and senior citizens taking part in the plan must pay off any money owed in installments between April and November. To apply, contact your natural gas or electric utility company or alternative electric supplier.
Coldwater Board of Public Utilities
REAP: Designed specifically for CBPU customers whose household income falls under 200 percent of the poverty income, this programs provides a basic audit of the qualified applicant’s home followed with energy education and energy saving measures selected for their home. Future electrical and water usage will be monitored and results reviewed with the applicant. CBPU customers interested in more information on the REAP program can contact Bob Granger at 279-9531 x 6910.
Residential Income Assistance Credit: Low income customers may qualify for a $6 per month credit on their electric, and/or a $10.50 per month credit on their natural gas account, if served by DTE Energy. For more information, call 800-477-4747.
Senior Citizen Electric Service Rate: Depending on energy use, seniors 62 and older could save up to 37 percent — about $16 each month on their electric bill. If you use an average of less than 650 kilowatt hours per month, this rate will be beneficial to you. Your actual savings will depend on the amount of electricity you use. Signing up for this rate is simple. Just call Customer Service at 800-477-4747. Press 1 for “residential”, then 3 for “billing/payment” and then 5 for “other”. Ask for the Senior Citizen Residential Electric Service Rate.
Michigan Utilities with Low-Income Energy Efficiency Resources
Energy Efficiency Assistance Program
EEA Home Performance Rebate Program: A certified professional auditor will conduct a comprehensive home energy audit to determine the most effective energy improvements for your home. These may include:
- Installation of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs
- Replacement of inefficient equipment, such as furnaces, with high-efficiency equipment
- Installation of attic, wall, mobile home belly or rim joist insulation
- Air sealing improvements to reduce infiltration
- Installation of programmable thermostats (gas heating only)
- Installation of domestic hot water savings measures
Test and Tune-up Program: A specially-trained technician will perform a thorough cleaning and tune-up of your natural gas furnace or boiler, which is designed to help the system last longer and run more efficiently. DTE Energy may cover the cost of a replacement if a unit is deemed unsafe or unrepairable.
ENERGY STAR Refrigerator Replacement Program: If your current refrigerator is manufactured before 2000 and inefficient based on on-site testing, you may be eligible to receive a new ENERGY STAR certified replacement. Customers in multi-unit buildings are also eligible for this program.
To enroll in these programs, please contact a participating nonprofit organization or Community Action Agency. View this list, to locate a participating organization that serves your area. For further assistance, call the Michigan Community Action Agency Association at 517-321-7500 or visit them online at mcaaa.org.
State utility resource information provided by the LIHEAP Clearinghouse, a service of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.