Energy Conservation and Assistance
Superior Watershed Partnership
Michigan Energy Assistance Program (SWP MEAP)
NEED ASSISTANCE WITH YOUR HEAT AND ELECTRIC BILLS? WE CAN HELP!
The Superior Watershed Partnership is a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Navigation and Referral Partner for the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP).
State leaders urge customers struggling financially to seek help with energy bills, don't wait
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 26, 2020
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are urging customers to be proactive in seeking help if they find themselves unable to pay their energy bills and to not wait to receive a shut off notice or are almost out of propane or fuel oil.
As the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn continue and as the winter heating season approaches, many Michiganders may find themselves needing assistance for the first time. If you’ve recently become unemployed or have lost income due to the pandemic, you should first contact your energy provider or propane supplier to ask what options may be available to you.
Assistance is also available through the State Emergency Relief (SER) program and the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). If you need immediate assistance in getting a delivery for propane for fuel oil, help keeping your energy services on or restoring services that have been disconnected, the quickest way is to apply for SER is online through MI Bridges at www.michigan.gov/mibridges. If you need help applying or navigating the application process, call 211 and ask for a MEAP grantee near you for help.
If you have already received SER, you still may be eligible for additional assistance because the caps on assistance have increased. Households who qualify for SER also qualify for assistance through MEAP, which provides supplemental bill payment assistance and energy self-sufficiency services. You can connect with a MEAP provider during your MI Bridges SER application process, by calling 211 or going to mi211.org.
“There are still MEAP funds available to assist customers in need of energy assistance and self-sufficiency services” said MPSC Chair Dan Scripps. “Also, the amount of funding available per person was increased from $2,000 to $3,000, but goes back down after Sept. 30, so it’s important that customers seek assistance right away if they have a past due account or are struggling to pay their energy bills.”
Additional energy assistance is also available through the Home Heating Credit. The Michigan Department of Treasury determines eligibility and makes payments for this program. Application forms are available from the Department of Treasury, local Department of Health & Human Services offices, and anywhere Michigan tax forms are available. The application period is January to September 30. You do not need to file a state income tax return, you may apply for the Home Heating Credit only. Eligibility is based on income, number of exemptions and household heating costs. More information is available at www.michigan.gov/treasury.
“These are unprecedented times and many Michiganders find themselves in circumstances they’ve not faced before. Help is available. Those who have lost jobs or income may find they are now eligible for assistance they may not have previously needed,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “Due to recent policy changes we are now processing emergency requests faster than ever, and it is easier to access benefits. Don’t delay in seeking the help you need.”
In response to COVID-19, the following changes to SER policy have been put in place:
- A phone interview is no longer required — reduces the amount of time it takes to process an application.
- Increase in assistance cap — allows households to receive an additional $300 in assistance per commodity for the remainder of the fiscal year.
- Suspension of one-time energy assists — allows customers to get more assistance if they have not reached their cap and are in need of additional help until Sept. 30, 2020.
- The non-cash asset limit has been increased to $15,000 — allows more people in crisis to qualify for SER.
- Elimination of required payments — eliminates SER shortfall copayment.
UP Residents needing energy assistance should call the Superior Watershed Partnership Energy Office at 906-272-2742. Case Workers are here to help!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT APPLYING FOR ENERGY ASSISTANCE IN MICHIGAN
- Everyone must first apply for a State Emergency Relief (SER) assist through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
- Each household can only receive one SER assist for heat and one SER assist for electric through the MDHHS per heating season.
- Any additional energy assistance must be received through a Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) Grantee.
- If you would like to work with our program, select the Superior Watershed Partnership as your Referral Partner on your MI Bridges on-line application by selecting the Navigator button at the bottom of every MI Bridges page. The SWP will receive your referral and will contact you within 2 business days to schedule your self-sufficiency services and explain the process for future energy requests.
- If you completed a paper SER application and were approved, please call 906-273-2742 for details on how to connect with the SWP for future assists.
- The SWP can assist with most SER co-pays.
HOW TO APPLY FOR ENERGY ASSISTANCE BEGINNING OCTOBER 1ST 2018
- If you have access to a computer you can apply on-line using MI BRIDGES https://newmibridges.michigan.gov/
- Pick up a paper application at your local MDHHS office. All SER applications must be submitted to your local MDHHS office.
CONNECTING WITH THE SUPERIOR WATERSHED PARTNERSHIP
- Connect with the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) while filling out your MI Bridges State Emergency Relief (SER) or call the SWP at 906-273-2742 to connect and/or discuss program requirements.
- The SWP representative will assist you with completion the required Self-Sufficiency Plan and Needs Assessment. Click here to fill out the Self-Sufficiency Plan and Needs Assessment on-line. This only needs to be filled once per grant term (Oct - Sept).
- The SWP representative will guide you on how to complete the required Energy Conservation and Money Management Workshop. Click here to fill out the required Energy Conservation and Money Management Workshop online.
- The Needs Assessment will ask you several questions, including whether you are interested in additional workshops and whether you would like to have a Home Energy Score conducted in your home.
- The SWP will give you referrals based on your Needs Assessment.
- After you have been approved for your HEAT SER, you will be eligible to be enrolled in an Affordable Payment Plan or receive other monetary assistance from the SWP.
- After you have been approved for your ELECTRIC SER, you will be eligible to be enrolled in an Affordable Payment Plan or receive other utility assistance from the SWP.
- After you have completed the above you may be eligible for Energy Assistance. Click here to fill out the Energy Assistance Request Form. Past due bill or quote (REQUIRED) can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 906-273-2741 or mailed to Superior Watershed Partnership Energy Office 401 E Fair Avenue Marquette MI 49855.
SWP MEAP SERVICES
- Short-term, long-term case management, and referrals
- Energy assistance for electricity, natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and firewood
- Energy Conservation and Financial Education Workshops
- Affordable Payment Plans with Consumers Energy, DTE, SEMCO and UPPCO
- Home Energy Score Assessments
- Solar panel array installation for up to 5 eligible households
In order to qualify for assistance, a family/household must be low-income with a total household income at or below the 150% US Federal Poverty Level. View the Federal Poverty Eligibility chart below:
Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Guideline Tables
|Family Size||150% MONTHLY FPL|
|Additional Family Member Add||$552|
MI BRIDGES APPLICATIONS REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION
- State Id for applicant
- Social Security card for applicant
- Social Security numbers for all household members
- Copy of energy bill showing past due charges or quote for fuel oil/propane/wood
- For fuel oil and propane your tank must be 25% or below
- For wood you should apply when you have two weeks or less of wood
- For electric and natural gas you must have past due charges showing on your current bill
- Bank statement from the past 30 days
- To qualify you must not have more than $500 in your account
- Proof of income for everyone in the household for the past 30 days
- Proof of assets (car registration, proof of home ownership)
- Some assets such as your homestead, one vehicle, personal and household goods are excluded
- The MDHHS may require that your household has made payments towards your utility bills in the past six months. Use the SER REQUIRED PAYMENTS chart below by selecting the number of household members and finding the energy type you are seeking assistance for. Non-payment over the last 6 months may result in a State Emergency Relief (SER) co-pay. If you cannot afford your co-pay, you can contact the Superior Watershed Partnership or other MEAP Grantee for assistance. In certain situations, you may be denied if you are asking for less assistance than you were required to pay. If this occurs, you can make a payment to your utility provider and then re-apply for SER.
|Household||Heat: Required Payment||Electric: Required Payment||TOTAL REQUIRED ENERGY|
|*||$10 *||$6 *||$16 *|
MEAP PROGRAM INFORMATION
- Navigation Partners and Access Partners can help you complete your MI Bridges application.
- You can select your Referral Partner when submitting your MI Bridges application online. The Referral Partner will contact you within 2 business days and will work with you to complete a Self-Sufficiency Plan and Needs Assessment.
- The first 250 households that attend an in-person Self-Sufficiency Workshop will receive a Home Energy Kit valued at $25.00.
- Home Energy Scores will be offered to eligible clients. Participating households will receive a comprehensive Department of Energy Home Energy Score report and can receive up to $85.00 of weatherization materials (ex; draft sealing, hot water pipe wrap, installing LED bulbs, etc.
- Up to 50 households will receive weatherization based on the Home Energy Score report.
- Up to 5 eligible households will receive solar panel arrays.
MEAP PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
- Everyone must receive an SER payment from MDHHS first before the SWP can release any direct energy assistance payments for that energy type.
- Upon completion of the Self-Sufficiency Plan, Workshop, and Needs Assessment, the household will be eligible for an affordable payment plan and up to two additional energy assists not to exceed $2,000 per household in the grant term running October 1st through September 30th
- If you require more than 2 assists you may be required to take additional Self-Sufficiency Workshops.
- Affordable payment plans (APP) will be offered to customers of DTE, Consumers Energy, SEMCO and UPPCO whose households are deemed eligible.