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Find Helpful Payment Assistance Programs


Many in our community are faced with economic hardships. Answer a few simple questions and we’ll suggest financial assistance programs that could be a good fit for you.

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I only need help this one time

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I may need help in the future, and am looking at my options for help.

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I would like a predictable bill every month to help me budget.

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More About You

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You must select at least one option. If none of the options apply to you, please select "none".

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Suggested Programs for You
Care Program

CARE Program

The Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE) Program is an affordable payment plan that offers monthly payments at a fixed, affordable rate. Plus, if you make payments on time your past due balance will be gradually forgiven.

Home Heating

Home Heating Credit Program

If your income is at or below 110% of the federal poverty level, you may apply for a Home Heating Credit from the State of Michigan to help pay winter heating bills (includes rented apartments and mobile homes).

Helping Neighbors

Helping Neighbors Program

The Helping Neighbors Program will provide a free expert energy assessment of your home. You may also be eligible for free energy upgrades like insulating pipes, installing free LED bulbs, showerheads and kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators.

You may also qualify for a special Veteran Only programs:

Active Duty Shut-Off Protection

2-1-1 will link you with local agencies providing energy assistance

Learn More
Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF)

Emergency utility payment assistance for temporary financial issues.

Learn More

You may also qualify for a special COVID relief program:

Homeowners Assistance
MIHAF (Michigan Homeowners Assistance Fund)

The Michigan Homeowners Assistance Fund (MIHAF) was established to help homeowners who have experienced a financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This fund helps prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020 through qualified expenses related to mortgages and housing.

You may be eligible for up to $25,000 MIHAF assistance per household on your primary residence which MIHAF will disburse directly to the lender/servicer or service provider:

  • Delinquent mortgage/housing expenses
  • Up to three consecutive, monthly mortgage payments
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s insurances
  • Utilities, gas, electric, water, sewer, and Internet broadband services

Apply for MIHAF online below or call 2-1-1 for assistance.

Apply for MIHAF Now
CERA (Assistance for Renters)

COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) is a program available for tenants facing pandemic-related hardships to avoid eviction.

The program offers:

  • Up to 12 months of rental assistance, 3 months of which can be future payments
  • Assistance for past due and future electricity, heat, water, sewer, and trash costs
  • Funds are managed by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s network of nonprofit agencies.
  • Landlords or tenants can apply directly online at Michigan.gov/cera.
  • If you are unable to fill out your application online, call 2-1-1 to be connected with an agency that can assist you.

Who is Eligible?

CERA is for renter households that have incomes less than 80% of their county’s Area Median Income. Applicants must also meet the following conditions:

  • Individual(s) in the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or has experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the coronavirus.
  • Individual(s) in the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability evidenced by a past due utility or rent notice.
  • To check eligibility and apply for assistance follow the link below or visit Michigan.gov/cera

Don’t wait! These funds will be available only for a limited time.

Apply for CERA Now

Other programs you might be interested in:

211 for Local Resources

2-1-1 will link you with local agencies providing energy assistance

Learn More
Shutoff Protection Plan

Year-round protection from shut-off for qualifying customers.

Learn More
Budget Plan

Get a consistent payment year-round and avoid unexpected high bills.

Learn More
State Emergency Relief

Assistance with past due notices, shut-offs, or need for deliverable fuel.

Learn More

Behind on Your Bill? Explore These Payment Plans


The CARE Program


An Affordable Payment Plan
If you need assistance managing your energy bill, the Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE) Program may be able to help.

As a CARE member, you will receive the following benefits:

  • Your monthly payments will be at a fixed, affordable rate.
  • Any past due balance you might have will be gradually forgiven as a reward for on time payments.
Learn about eligibility and the enrollment process.
Get a Consistent Payment Year-Round
If your past due balance is less than $75, consider our Budget Plan. The Budget Plan offers an effective solution if you’re looking to avoid unexpectedly high bills during times of higher energy use.

The Budget Plan may be a good option for you if:

  • You want a bill that’s predictable from month-to-month
  • You have a past due balance of no more than $75
  • You haven’t defaulted on your payment more than two times in the last year
If you are currently serving in the military, we recommend:
  • Shut-off Protection – Active Duty in the Military: If you (or your spouse) are the main contact for your account and are called to full-time active military service, you may request protection from disconnection for up to 90 days. You may also request an extension by reapplying.
    • If you (or your spouse) are the customer of record and you’re called to full-time active military service, you may apply for shut-off protection for up to 90 days. You may request an extension by reapplying.
      • You must provide verification of active duty status.
      • At the end of active duty, you must notify us of your change in status.
      • You still will be required to pay for the energy you used during your participation in this program.
      • We will set up a payment plan for all past due amounts to be paid within one year.
      • To join, call us at 800-477-5050.
Additional resources:
Michigan Veterans Trust Fund: Provides eligible wartime veterans and their families located in Michigan with temporary energy assistance for emergencies or hardships.
As a senior citizen, you qualify for the following assistance:
  • Winter Protection Plan: Pay partial charges through winter months while receiving seasonal protection from disconnection.
  • Electric Senior Citizen Bill Credits: This income assistance credit is designed to help seniors on fixed incomes.
    • The Electric Senior Citizen provision is designed to help you with your electric bill by offering a monthly credit of $4.00 to your bill. Qualifying customers must meet age requirements and be the head of the household.
    • If you are eligible to receive the Electric Income Assistance credit, you will no longer receive the Electric Senior Citizen credit.
Additional resources:
  • Michigan Aging & Adult Services Agency: Local Area Agencies located within communities statewide provide a variety of senior services and activities.
  • Elder Law of Michigan: Older adults and people with disabilities can get help paying for the cost of basic needs like food, medicine, healthcare, utilities, housing and taxes.

  • Critical Care Program: If you are on life support or have a life-threatening medical condition, you are eligible for shut-off protection. Please complete the Medical Certification Form to get started. Please note, if you are participating in life support shut-off protection, you need to re-enroll every year.
    • PLEASE NOTE: Backup generators and transportation services are not part of this program. Participation in this program does not mean your electric power will be restored sooner than others.

  • Medical Emergency Protection: If you have a qualifying, documented medical emergency, you can be protected from an energy service shut-off for up to 21 days.
  • Third Party Notification: We’ll send a copy of any shut-off notice you receive to a third party, with your written authorization. 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. To set up Third Party Notifications, call us at 800-477-5050.

Consumers Energy partners with several agencies across the state who provide energy assistance. Check your income below to see if you’re eligible for an energy assistance program.

Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPL):

Number of Household Members 110% FPL
HHC


(Annual)
150% FPL
SER, CARE,
WPP, RIA

(Monthly)
200% FPL
WAP, SPP,
Helping Neighbors

(Monthly)
1 $14,949 $1,699 $2,265
2 $20,141 $2,289 $3,052
3 $25,333 $2,879 $3,838
4 $30,525 $3,469 $4,625
5 $35,717 $4,059 $5,412
6 $40,909 $4,649 $6,198
For each additional person add $5,192 $590 $787

* Some non-profit agencies might provide assistance to households with a higher income level. Please contact the agency for details.


Michigan Energy Assistance Program


We work with agencies to provide energy assistance programs that include help paying energy bills, household budgeting and energy efficiency.

Call 2-1-1 or contact one of the participating agencies below:

The United Way
of Jackson County

helpwithutilities.com
517-741-0202

The Heat and Warmth
Fund (THAW)

thawfund.org/assistance/
800-866-8429

St. Vincent de
Paul Society
helpwithmybill.com
877-788-4623

True North
Community Services

tnempower.org
231-355-5880

Barry County United Way
bcunitedway.org
269-945-4010

The United Way of Southeastern Michigan
unitedwaysem.org/utility-assistance/
844-211-4994

The Salvation Army
salarmy.us/energy
616-929-1645

Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity
micommunityaction.org
Or contact your local
Community Action Agency

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