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Seniors and Other Low Income Consumers Face High Utility Bills This Winter

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Seniors and other low income consumers face high utility bills this winter
Issue 29, Autumn 2005

Seniors and other low income consumers face high utility bills this winter

by Alison Hirschel, MPLP Elder Law Attorney

 


The media is full of predictions of exceedingly high heating costs this winter which will create a particular hardship for seniors and other low income consumers. A number of programs are available to assist seniors in reducing their heating costs, preventing shut-offs, and paying for heat. Among the programs are:

  • Weatherization assistance–low income households can receive free caulking, weather stripping, insulation and other services.


  • Budget Billing Plans–seniors can arrange to pay the same amount each month to make predicting energy costs easier. Seniors should contact their gas or electric company to enroll.

  • Winter protection plans–low income customers and seniors can budget natural gas and electricity payments to avoid shut-offs;

  • Medical emergency protection–a shut-off for nonpayment may be postponed up to 21 days because of a medical emergency. Seniors should contact their gas or electric company for more information.

  • State emergency relief–Low income households can get help paying heating or electric bills;

  • Home Heating Credit–qualifying seniors and low income customers can receive a tax credit to help pay heating bills;

  • Military/Veterans Assistance–Veterans and Air and Army National Guard families can receive emergency financial assistance to pay for electric, oil, and gas.

  • Deliverable Fuel Assistance–Depending on funding, low income customers may receive assistance buying fuel oil and propane. Clients can call local community action organizations for further information.

    For more information on all these programs, go to http://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/ and click on “Be Winter Wise.”

     


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