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The Michigan Public Service Commission and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services today announced that community service agencies, including TrueNorth Community Services, have been awarded $54.5 million in grants that help thousands of low-income consumers statewide who fall behind on their home energy bills.

The Michigan Energy Assistance Program grants are funded by the Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF), a monthly surcharge assessed by participating utilities, this year set by the MPSC at 92 cents. Additional funding for MEAP grants is provided through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The grant recipients and amounts each received are as follows:

  • Barry County United Way, $150,000, Hastings.
  • Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity, $6,390,000.
  • The Heat and Warmth Fund, $7,200,000, Detroit.
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul, $4,100,000, Detroit.
  • Superior Watershed Partnership, $2,460,000, Marquette.
  • The Salvation Army, $11,400,000, Grand Rapids.
  • TrueNorth Community Services, $10,500,000, Fremont.
  • United Way for Southeastern Michigan, $7,050,000, Detroit.
  • United Way of Jackson County, $5,250,000, Jackson.

MEAP grant agencies, such as TrueNorth's emPower heat and energy assistance program, will serve as MI Bridges navigators to help applicants with payments that can be used to meet home heating and electricity costs on primary residences. Assistance can cover full or partial payment of one or more bills for electric, natural gas, propane, heating oil, or any other deliverable fuel used to provide heat. Grant agencies will also provide energy self-sufficiency services, such as weatherization improvements, to reduce energy waste in homes.

The service agencies that received the grants will emphasize helping the lowest-income households that have the highest energy burden. More than 65,000 households in Michigan received MEAP assistance this past funding period, which ended Sept. 30.

The agencies also assist households that qualify for enrollment in utility affordable payment plans, such as DTE Energy’s Low-Income Self-Sufficiency Plan (LSP), Consumers Energy’s Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE) program, and SEMCO’s Monthly Assistance Program (MAP), and Upper Peninsula Power Co.’s Energy Assistance, Self-sufficiency & Education (EASE) program.

Energy assistance also is available through the State Emergency Relief (SER) program at MDHHS. SER offers immediate assistance to someone facing conditions of extreme hardship or emergencies threatening health and safety. SER helps low-income households that usually can make ends meet, but occasionally need help when an emergency arises. Money is available to pay for utility bills only when a service shutoff has occurred or there is a threat of a shutoff.

Residents who need assistance with energy services should contact an area MEAP grantee, call 2-1-1, or go to www.mi211.org for information.

For more information about MEAP click here.

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