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Home Heating Ass't

Below are some links to the various home heating assistance programs that are available to you.

Winter Protection Plan (Income Guidlines)
Home Heating Credit
Earned Income Credit
State Emergency Relief Program
Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program Medical Emergency Protection
Shut-off Protection for Military Active Duty

 

WINTER PROTECTION PLAN

Contact: Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co- op

The Winter Protection Plan protects eligible senior and low-income customers from service shut-offs and high utility bill payments during the winter months (November 1 through March 31).

You may enroll between Nov. 1 and March 31. To participate, you must agree to the terms of the Winter Protection Plan for the upcoming heating season.

For the purposes of this program, a low- income member is someone whose household income does not exceed 150% of poverty level (see below) or who receives any of the following:

  • Department of Human Services cash assistance,
  • Food Stamps, or
  • Medicaid

If you are an eligible low-income customer, you will not have utility service discontinued from November 1 through March 31, if:

  • You pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month and
  • You make monthly payments of 1/12 of any past due bills.

If you are an eligible low-income customer whose utility service has been shut-off before applying for Winter Protection, the utility cannot require you to pay a fee for restoring your service or a security deposit during the space-heating season. The utility also cannot require you to pay more than one- twelfth of your arrearage in order to restore service or to initiate participation in the Winter Protection Program.

You are an eligible senior citizen customer if you are 65 years of age or older. If you are an eligible senior citizen customer you may enroll between November 1 and March 31. When Winter Protection ends (March 31), you must begin to pay the full monthly bill plus a portion of the amount owed from the winter months, each month from April 1 through October 31. If you are an eligible senior citizen and participate in the Winter Protection Plan, you are not required to make specific payments between November 1 and March 31 to ensure that your service will not be shut-off. However, you are encouraged to pay whatever you can during the winter so you will not have large, unmanageable bills when the protection period ends.

Participation does not relieve members from responsibility for paying for electricity and natural gas usage, but does prevent shut-off during the winter months. At the end of the protection period, both low-income and senior citizens participating in the plan must make arrangements with their utility company to pay any money owed before the start of the next protection period.

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Winter Protection Plan Income Guidelines (2012-2013)

Number of Household Members 150% of Poverty Guidelines Maximum Income
1 $16,755
2 $22,695
3 $28,635
4 $34,575
5 $40,515
6 $46,455
7 $52,395
8 $58,335
Add $5,610 for each additional household member.

 

Note: All customers 65 years or older are eligible regardless of income. Members are responsible for all electricity and natural gas use. At the end of the protection period, all participating members – both low-income members and those 65 years old and older – participating in the plan must make arrangements with their utility company to pay off any money owed before the start of the next protection period. For more information, see page 14 of your 2012 Nov.-Dec. issue of Countrylines magazine (or click here)

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HOME HEATING CREDIT

Contact: Michigan Department of Treasury

You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2012 tax year if you meet the income guidelines listed below.

If you qualify, the Home Heating Credit provides assistance to help pay for your winter heating bills. Eligible customers must meet the following standard credit income guidelines or alternate guidelines based on household income, exemptions and heating costs.

Exemptions Income Ceiling
1 $12,299
2 $16,671
3 $21,014
4 $25,357
5 $29,728
6 $34,071
For each exemption over 6, add $4,343

You may claim an exemption for yourself, your spouse and other dependents. Additional exemptions are available for seniors, disabled claimants, or claimants with 50% or more of their income from unemployment compensation.

Forms generally are available in mid-to-late January wherever other tax forms are provided, from the Michigan Department of Treasury (call 1-800-367-6263) or on the Internet at www.michigan.gov/treasury. You may also contact your local utility for assistance in completing these forms. The Home Heating Credit claim form must be filed with the Michigan Department of Treasury before September 30, 2013.

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EARNED INCOME CREDIT

Contact: U. S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service

The Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low- income working individuals and familes who meet certain requirements and file a tax return. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income tax can qualify for the EIC, but must file a tax return to do so. If you are married, you must file jointly to qualify. To file, fill out Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EIC.

If you are raising a qualifying child in your home in 2012, you may also be able to receive part of the credit in your paycheck during the year with Advance EIC. Get form W-5 from your employer of call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800- 829-3676).

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STATE EMERGENCY RELIEF PROGRAM (SER)

Contact: Local Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) Office

You do not have to be a client of the DHS to apply for help through the SER. This program is available year-round, subject to availability of funds, to assist low-income households that have a heat or electric shut- off or a need for deliverable fuel. If you receive an DHS cash grant, you may vendor part of that grant towards heat and electric bills. Contact your DHS caseworker for information on the advantages of vendoring a cash grant. For additional information, contact your local DHS office or call the Home Heating Hotline, 1-800-292-5650.

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LOW-INCOME WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Contact: Local Community Action Agency

Michigan's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a federally funded, low-income residential energy conservation program. WAP provides free home energy conservation services to eligible low-income homeowners and renters. These weatherization services can help you reduce your energy use and lower your utility bills. If you qualify, a trained inspector will assess your home and determine which conservation measures will be the most beneficial for you. Weatherization steps may include adding cauling and weatherstripping; wall, basement, and attic insulation and ventilation; and smoke detectors. Eligibility is based on your household income being at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. If you participate in the Family Independence Program administered by the Department of Human Services or receive Supplemental Security Income, you automatically qualify for this program. Contact your local Community Action Agency for more information.

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MEDICAL EMERGENCY PROTECTION

Contact: Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co- op

You are protected from service shut-off for nonpayment of your natural gas and/or electric bill for up to 21 days if you or a member of your household has a proven medical emergency. You must provide written proof from a doctor or a notice from a public health official stating that the shut-off of service will aggravate your existing medical emergency. The certificate must identify the medical emergency and specify the period of time during which the shut-off will aggravate the emergency. If you or a member of your household requires home medical equipment or a life support system you must provide documentation from a physician or medical facility identifying the equipment or life support system and certifying that an interruption of service would be immediatley life-threatening. If shut-off of service has occurred without any postponement being obtained, the utility shall restore service at no cost to the customer for 21 days. The medical emergency form can be extended and service can be postoned for a total of 63 days in any 12-month period per household member. Annually, the utility is not required to grant shutoff extensions totaling more than 126 days per household.

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SHUT-OFF PROTECTION FOR MILITARY ACTIVE DUTY

Contact: Presque Isle Electic & Gas Co- op

If you or your spouse has been called to active military duty you may apply for shut- off protection from your electric or natural gas service for up to 90 days. You will still be required to pay, but your utility company will help you set up a payment plan.

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