If you are looking for assistance with your electric bill in Michigan, there are several options available to you. Federally funded programs, state funds, charities and even your own utility company could be a source of help for paying your electric or utility bill.
State Sources of Utility Bill Help
The state of Michigan offers utility bill help to residents in several different ways, including but not limited to direct assistance.
One such method is the Home Heating Credit, which is a state tax credit aimed at helping low income residents affordably pay for heating costs in their home. To check if you are eligible and to claim this credit, speak with your tax preparer or check the instructions on the appropriate tax forms. See this site for more information on the Home Heating Credit.
SER, or State Emergency Relief, also provides help to low income residents including assistance for heating, electric, and utility bills. SER is generally limited to low income households facing a health or safety emergency. Contact your local DHS office for info.
Federal Energy Assistance Programs
Several federally funded programs are available to Michigan residents as well. As with most states, funds through LIHEAP are available to low income residents and households. For more information on LIHEAP, call 1-800-292-5650.
Michigan also offers the federally funded Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to low income residents. The program offers free home energy conservation services to homeowners and renters with low incomes.
Services available through WAP include different types of insulation, ventilation, air leakage reduction, dryer venting and smoke detectors. Most homes that receive weatherization services reduce heating costs by 20 to 25 percent!
To learn more about WAP, contact your local weatherization operator: http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,1607,7-124-5452_7124_7211-58707–,00.html.
Charities Offering Emergency Assistance
In addition to the government programs listed, many private charities offer emergency assistance to Michigan residents in need. These funds are often restricted and very limited, but are available to help those in need as a last resort. Charities that offer these funds include:
PeopleCare. To apply, contact your local Salvation Army office: http://www.sawmni.org/.
The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW). Contact 1-800-866-8429
Cherryland Cooperative Operation Round Up: 800-442-8616
Indiana Michigan Power Energy Share: 800-334-7670
Lansing Board of Power and Light, Power for Pennies Program: 517-371-6006
Tri County Electric, People Fund and Operation Round Up: 1-800-562-8232
Besides these resources, your own utility companies often provide programs directly that offer electric bill assistance as well.
Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.
Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.
In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.
Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!
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