Governor Whitmer, MPSC and MDHHS urge struggling Michiganders to seek assistance to keep warm this season

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In this photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. Whitmer said Monday, Nov. 16 she has the authority to issue a second stay-at-home order to curb the spiking coronavirus if necessary, pointing to an epidemic-powers law that her administration has used since a setback at the state Supreme Court. Starting Wednesday, Nov. 18 high schools and colleges must halt in-person classes, restaurants must stop indoor dining and entertainment businesses must close. Gathering sizes also will be tightened. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Public Service Commission and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released a joint statement today emphasizing the availability of payment plans and financial assistance for households struggling to pay bills for electricity and home heating now and after the holidays.  

“As we continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and head into another Michigan winter, it’s crucial that all Michiganders can access the support they need to keep themselves and their families warm and safe,” Governor Whitmer said. “As the weather gets colder, I urge everyone who needs help to reach out for it. It is also crucial that our leaders at the federal level work together to pass a bipartisan relief bill that will provide families the support they need to make it through the winter. We will get through this together.” 

“Michigan utilities offer payment plans for customers who’ve lost jobs or income because of the pandemic, and those struggling should contact their utility see what help is available,” MPSC Chair Dan Scripps said. “In addition, federal and state financial assistance for low-income households has been expanded to include those who’ve become newly unemployed or underemployed. Please don’t hesitate to seek help.” 

Utility customers in need may contact their utility to ask about payment options and assistance.

Customers may also apply for or find out more about State Emergency Relief and the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) through MI Bridges at www.michigan.gov/mibridges. Those that need assistance applying can call 211 and ask for a MEAP grantee near you for help. You also can find a local MEAP grantee at the MPSC’s MEAP information page

“No one should be without heat or electricity — especially during a pandemic,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “MDHHS wants to make sure that Michiganders experiencing financial difficulties can check out the forms of assistance available right now and reach out for help.” 

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