Originally Published by Consumers Energy.
Consumers Energy announced that it has now contributed $10 million to help customers in need to pay their energy bills — part of the energy provider’s ongoing efforts this winter to help Michigan residents stay safe and warm.
“Our Triple Bottom Line commitment to people, the planet and Michigan’s prosperity means that we’re looking out for the people we serve, particularly those who face hardship,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re pleased that we can provide help for thousands of Michigan families to ensure they have the power they need during another cold winter.”
Consumers Energy provided $8 million to help eligible customers with energy bills in December, in addition to a $2 million contribution in October.
Together, the money will help up to 7,000 households enter Consumers Energy’s CARE program or facilitate them receiving additional aid to pay energy bills. The CARE program allows customers to get on a path to self-sufficiency by providing an affordable payment plan with monthly credits and gradual forgiveness of past-due balances to reward on-time payments. Participants also qualify for energy-saving tools, including free in-home energy efficiency upgrades.
The company has been sharing information with customers this winter about how to reduce energy use and find available assistance in their communities to help with bills. Natural gas use for Consumers Energy’s residential customers was more than 20 percent higher in November 2018, compared to the previous year, due to colder-than-normal temperatures.
Consumers Energy encourages people who are facing hardship with energy bills or other needs to call 2-1-1, a free service in all Michigan counties that connects people with resources to help in their community.
Those who call 2-1-1 can be referred to one of the eight nonprofit organizations that are receiving the $10 million of financial support from Consumers Energy. They are United Way of Jackson County, TrueNorth Community Services, The Salvation Army, The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW), Michigan Community Action Agency, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the Archdiocese of Detroit, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and Michigan Veterans Trust Fund.
“We want the people who we serve our friends and neighbors to know help is available now,” Poppe said.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.