Senior Citizens Can Count On Us!  

Are you 65 or older and the head of the household? You may qualify for: shut-off protection, no late payment charges, and payment plans. Get started by filling out the senior citizen notification form. You can also email us or call (800) 477-5050 with any questions you may have. 


Services for Seniors
Payment Assistance for Seniors
Gatekeeper Program
Safety for Seniors
Senior Events
Senior Citizen FAQs

Services for Seniors 

Senior Credit Sample BillShut-off Protection - Senior citizens of record will not be shut off for nonpayment from November 1 – March 31

Credits

  • Electric Senior Citizen ($3.50 monthly credit): A residential customer 65 years or older and head of the household qualifies for this credit. The income assistance credit is designed to help seniors on fixed incomes. If you sign up for the income assistance provision, you will be removed from the senior citizen provision.
  • Electric/Natural Gas Income Assistance ($7 for electric/$10.50 for gas): To qualify, you must have received a Michigan Home Heating Credit (HHC)  or ensure your total household income does not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Consumers Energy automatically will qualify customers for the income assistance provision upon notification of a customer's eligibility from a qualifying agency. The customer will be responsible for providing documentation every year to maintain enrollment in the income assistance provision

Third-party Notification - With your written authorization, we can send a copy of any shut-off notice you receive to a third party. This may include a consenting friend, relative or agency. Your third-party contact is not responsible for paying your bill, but may act as a liaison between you and Consumers Energy.

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Payment Assistance for Seniors 

Senior Couple-smilingCall 2-1-1 - Free phone service that links people with information or agencies that can help with utility assistance and other needs.

  • Will be available to 99% of the state by the end of 2012
  • Current Michigan 2-1-1 databases maintain information on over 8,000 agencies with more than 35,000 public, non-profit and faith-based health and human service programs, including free tax assistance sites
  • For more information, visit uwmich.org/2-1-1

PeopleCare - Charitable giving from Consumers Energy customers, employees, and retirees helps people and families with emergency needs, such as food, clothing, transportation, shelter, home heating and medicine.

  • The Salvation Army distributes bill credits and other assistance. If you or someone you know needs emergency help, please call your local Salvation Army.
  • To donate or learn more about PeopleCare, visit www.consumersenergy.com/PeopleCare

The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) - Provides emergency help to low-income families and individuals in Michigan who are in danger of losing heat or electricity during the winter months.

  • To learn more, call (800) 866-THAW (800.866.8429)

Shut-off Protection Plan (SPP) - Provides year-round protection from shut-off for seniors. The plan requires:

  • Initial down payment of 10 percent of your total bill
  • Participating in a budget plan that spreads out your annual energy costs into equal payments plus equal monthly payments on your past-due balance
  • Enroll by calling Consumers Energy at (800) 477-5050

Budget Plan - Spread your annual energy costs into equal monthly payments.

Winter Protection Plan (WPP) - May protect seniors age 65 and older from service shut-off and high payments during the winter (Nov. 1 to March 31). Enrollment for the Winter Protection Plan begins Nov. 1. The plan requires:

  • An initial down payment of 1/12 of any past due bills
  • From November through March, you'll pay 7 percent of your estimated annual bill along with a portion of any past-due amount
  • When the protection period ends March 31, you must pay your full monthly bill, plus part of the amount you owe from the winter months when you did not pay the full
  • At the end of the protection period you must make arrangements to pay any money owed before the start of the next protection period
  • Enroll by calling Consumers Energy at (800) 477-5050

WPP participation does not relieve customers from the responsibility for paying for electricity and natural gas usage, but may prevent shut-off during the winter months.

State Earned Income Tax Credit (SEIC) - A taxpayer may claim a Michigan earned income tax creditequal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which the taxpayer is eligible, if any. It is line 27b on the MI-1040. The Michigan credit will provide assistance to workers struggling to keep up with rising costs.

Home Heating Credit (HHC) - To apply for a Home Heating Credit, you must meet the income guidelines and own or rent the home where you live (includes rented apartments and mobile homes). Home Heating Credit Claim forms (MI-1040CR-7) are available wherever other tax forms are provided. The annual deadline to file is Sept. 30. You need not file an income tax return to apply for this credit. The average Home Heating Credit for the 2013 tax year was $137.

Elder Law of Michigan - Older adults and people with disabilities can get help paying for the cost of important basic needs: food, medicine, healthcare, utilities, housing and taxes. Contact: www.elderlawofmi.org/benefits 
or (800) 347-5297.

Payment Arrangements - When you need more time to pay your bill, visit eServices to make Payment Arrangements, or call (800) 477-5050.

Other Energy Assistance Programs  - Learn about additional heating assistance programs provided by the state of Michigan for income-qualified households.

Getting In Touch with Consumers Energy  - To receive information and service, please email us or call (800) 477-5050.

Get a full list of Consumers Energy Payment Assistance Programs

Gatekeeper Program

 About the Gatekeeper Program

The Gatekeeper concept was developed initially in Spokane, Washington, and Michigan was one of more than a dozen states to implement this program.

  • Launched in 1987, the Michigan Gatekeeper Program assists older people who need help but may be unable to get it for themselves.
  • In the past 27 years, Consumers Energy employees have referred more than 6,000 older adults to the Gatekeeper Program, allowing them to receive assistance with essential, often life-sustaining, services.
  • The Office of Services to the Aging recognizes the age for referral as 60 years or older.

How Gatekeeper Program Benefits Those in Need

  • Many older adults live alone and have little contact with others. If they become ill or unable to function independently, they easily can go unnoticed and unattended.
  • A trained gatekeeper can be the eyes and ears of a neighborhood, linking older adult customers who need and want assistance with available services.
  • Consumers Energy front-line employees look for signs of distress in communication, economic condition, social condition, emotional health, personal appea¬rance, physical limitations and condition of the home.
  • The Gatekeeper Program’s continued success in our state demon¬strates the dedication and commitment on the part of the Michi¬gan Commission on Services to the Aging, the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, Consumers Energy, its employees, and others to improve the quality of life for Michigan’s older adults.
  • The Office of Services to the Aging selects a Gatekeeper of the Month and Gatekeeper of the Year from among Consumers Energy employees. One of the most important criteria is if the employee went beyond his or her normal job duties to help an older adult. 

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Senior CoupleSafety for Seniors 

Senior Events and Links 

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