MARQUETTE, Michigan (WLUC) – In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, more residents of the Upper Peninsula are struggling to pay their heating and electricity bills, but the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP ) is there to help them.
Michigan residents who were not previously eligible may now be eligible for energy assistance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS), Division of Energy Assistance (DEA) received additional LIHEAP funding in under the CARES Act to assist residents with heating, cooling, crisis assistance, weatherization and case management for home energy load reduction.
Households experiencing an energy crisis (overdue bill or shutdown notice) will initially apply for the State Emergency Relief Program (SER), either directly from the MDHHS using MiBridges or a request paper, either with assistance from the Superior Watershed Partnership Michigan Energy Assistance Program (SWP MEAP) or project partners, and MDHHS will determine eligibility for assistance from the Home Energy Assistance Program low income (LIHEAP).
Households above the federal 150% poverty line will not be eligible for MEAP payment services, however, SWP MEAP will assist the household in the SER application process and with SWP MEAP self-sufficiency services.
Once the Michigan household has been SER approved by the MDHHS, the SWP MEAP can help with co-payments and subsequent heating and electricity bills up to $ 2,000 per household.
SWP MEAP also offers affordable payment plans and self-sufficiency services including: energy education, financial counseling, free home energy score assessments, and free solar panel installation for up to five qualified households. T
he SWP MEAP is working with the participating St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVdP) from the Upper Peninsula, Indian Tribes from the Upper Peninsula, Michigan Community Action Agencies (MCAAs) and other project partners to implement is implementing a step-by-step energy assistance program. for low-income households in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
This collaborative community-based approach helps struggling families in UP Michigan pay their energy bills, become more aware of home energy conservation, and receive the tools they need to gain the confidence and knowledge to budget for future energy costs.
SWP MEAP will host ‘Satellite’ office hours throughout the Upper Peninsula in August and September to assist customers with all energy-related needs including: MiBridges account creation, RES application support, requirements and support SWP, energy education, financial advice, etc. .
Please call our office for exact times and locations at 906-273-2742.
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