Michigan homeowners and renters in need have several options available for utility assistance this winter. Getty Images
Michigan homeowners and renters in need have several options available for utility assistance this winter.

Whether you rent or own your home, Michigan residents have options to help keep the heat on this winter.

MICHIGAN — The coronavirus pandemic began making its way through Michigan just as the state was emerging from another cold winter. Now, months later, Michigan is entering another bitterly cold winter with a pandemic in full-swing and amid the worst economic recession in generations. 

Many Michigan households are in need of financial assistance to help keep their utilities on during this winter.

Bills can often spike during the colder months in Michigan, making it more difficult for some people to keep up with bills.

Here are some utility assistance options for Michigan residents—no matter where you’re located. 

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Upper Peninsula

UPPCO’s winter protection plan keeps utilities running for eligible customers throughout the colder months (Nov. 1 – March 31). You must be an enrolled senior (65 and older) and/or a low-income customer whose annual household income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level to be protected from service shut offs and high utility bill payments during the heating season.

Call (906) 449-2013 or (800) 562-7680 for more information or visit their website.

Northern Michigan

True North Community Services‘ emPower program is grant-funded and assists with electricity, natural gas, propane, wood, and more. Customers must demonstrate financial need to receive assistance.

Mid-Michigan

The Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency offers emergency assistance in Bay, Midland, Clare, Gladwin, Mecosta, and Osceola Counties. The non-profit helps with paying rent to prevent homelessness, utility and energy bills, as well as basic needs. 

Click here for more information on Mid-Michigan Community Action programs. The programs can be food, baby formula, shelter, and items such as transportation. 

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Western Michigan

The Kent County Salvation Army offers utility assistance for families in need. Applicants must be interviewed before funds will be made available. 

Click here to apply.

Southeastern Michigan

DTE Energy provides electricity to more than 2 million Southeast Michigan residents and natural gas to more than a million homes statewide. Programs for low-income households must be 200% below the poverty line to receive free services. Households 150% or more below the poverty line may still receive reduced rates or payment assistance.

Click here for assistance with your DTE utility bill. 

Statewide

Home Heat Credit (HHC)

The HHC assists Michigan’s low-income families with the cost of heating their homes. 

State Emergency Relief (SER) Program – Heat & Utilities Assistance

The SER Program provides immediate help to individuals and families in extreme hardship or for emergencies that threaten health and safety. It’s primarily designed to maintain low-income households that are normally able to meet their needs but occasionally need help when unexpected emergency situations arise. 

Click here to apply online.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

Michigan’s WAP is a federally funded, low-income residential energy conservation program. The program provides free home energy conservation services to low-income Michigan homeowners and renters. These services reduce energy use and lower utility bills, thus creating more self-sufficient households.

The Heating and Warmth Fund (THAW)

THAW provides bill-payment assistance to low-income residents in 62 of Michigan’s 83 counties—including the Upper Peninsula. 

All Michigan residents can call 2-1-1 from a landline or cell phone to be connected with utility help, rental assistance, and other resources. Visit Michigan.gov for additional information. Your local Salvation Army or Community Action Agency may also be able to provide emergency assistance.

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