Payment Assistance Programs

SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company offers a variety of payment plans and assistance programs to help customers with their gas bills. It’s important to contact SEMCO as soon as you know you cannot pay your entire gas bill because a payment plan may be available, or you may be advised of assistance agencies in your area.

For more information, contact Customer Service at 1-800-624-2019, or call the Department of Health and Human Services Energy Hotline at 1-800-292-5650. The programs listed below are in effect for the 2017-2018 heating season.

SEMCO ENERGY Programs 

MONTHLY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MAP)

EFFECTIVE DATES: October - September

MAP is an income-based, budget program that provides eligible customers with a reduced budget. Please Click Here to visit the MAP page for more information.

WINTER PROTECTION PLAN (WPP)

EFFECTIVE DATES: November 1 through March 31

WPP may protect low-income and senior customers (65 years or older) from shut off during the winter (November 1 through March 31). You may qualify for the plan if you have a household income at or below 150% of federal poverty level (as shown in the income guideline chart) or receive any of the following:

  • Department of Health and Human Services food or cash assistance

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Medicaid

Participation in WPP does not relieve eligible customers of responsibility for paying for natural gas but will prevent shut off if on-time payments are made. Any unpaid balance accrued through the winter months will be reconciled and at the end of the protection period and will be split into monthly installments to be paid April - October along with the current bill.

HOUSEHOLD SIZE

MAXIMUM INCOME

One

$18,090

Two

$24,360

Three

$30,630

Four

$36,900

Five

$43,170

Six

$49,440

Seven

$55,710

Eight

$61,980

Add $6,270 for each additional household member


WPP PROVISIONS:

  • You can apply through SEMCO for WPP and within 14 days provide proof of having applied for state assistance.

  • You may sign up beginning November 1 by paying a minimum of 1/12th of any past-due amount.

  • If you qualify, you will pay 7% per month of your estimated annual heating bill during the WPP period plus a portion of your arrears.


MEDICAL EMERGENCY PROTECTION

If you or any household member has a qualifying, documented temporary medical emergency, you may be protected from shut off for nonpayment of your bill for up to 21 days. You must provide written proof certified by a physician or from a public health official that service shut off will aggravate an existing medical condition. Contact Customer Service, 1-800-624-2019, to request a copy of the form for your physician to complete.


SENIOR PROTECTION PROGRAM

EFFECTIVE DATES: November 1 through March 31

Any customer 65 years or older, regardless of income, who notifies SEMCO of their eligibility, is protected from shut off during the effective dates. At the end of the protection period, the total bill will be required unless arrangements are made to pay the balance in installments along with the current bill.

MILITARY PROTECTION

If you are the customer of record with the utility or the spouse of the customer of record with the utility, and are deployed overseas in response to a declared war or undeclared hostilities, or are deployed within the United States in response to a declared national or state emergency, and the household income is reduced as a result, you may apply for protection for up to 90 days. An extension may be requested. Verification of active duty status may be required.

State Programs

STATE EMERGENCY RELIEF (SER) PROGRAM

CONTACT: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)

You do not have to be a client of MDHHS to apply for help with a past-due bill or a shut off notice through the SER. This program provides most of its utility assistance during the crisis season, November 1 – May 31; however, limited assistance may be available outside of the crisis season. Contact your MDHHS caseworker for information or call the Home Heating Hotline at 1-855-275-6424. Some other community organizations and agencies are trained to help you complete the online application for SER. Find help near you at www.mibenefitsaccess.org.

HOME HEATING CREDIT

CONTACT: Michigan Department of Treasury

EFFECTIVE DATES: January 1 through September 30

You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2017 tax year beginning January 2018. To be eligible, you must meet the income guidelines as shown on the chart below and own or rent your residence (includes apartments and mobile homes). Additional benefits may be available if you are 65 or older, deaf, blind, or have another disability. Home Heating Credit claims must be filed before September 30, 2017, with the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Please contact SEMCO once you have filed for the Home Heating Credit. Protection is available to allow time for the Energy Draft to be issued. Please keep a copy of your form with the number of exemptions claimed and the amount of the credit. You will be required to pay for the natural gas service used during the shut off protection period.

EXEMPTIONS

INCOME CEILING

One

$13,271

Two

$17,871

Three

$22,471

Four

$27,071

Five

$31,671

Six

$36,271

For each exemption over six, add $4,600.


2017 EARNED INCOME CREDIT (EIC)

CONTACT: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Tax Preparer

The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working with people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund. For additional information visit www.irs.gov/EITC.

Agency Programs

THE HEAT AND WARMTH FUND (THAW)

CONTACT: THAW

The Heat And Warmth Fund is a leading provider of utility assistance for Michigan residents in need. THAW collaborates with partners to deliver services that support long-term energy solutions. Recipients of THAW assistance include the elderly, unemployed, underemployed and disabled individuals who found themselves in an energy crisis. More than 70% of the households assisted have a child or senior in the home. These populations are especially vulnerable to the cold. THAW programs are open to eligible Michigan residents. Visit www.thawfund.org for more information.

LOW-INCOME WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

CONTACT: Local Community Action Agency

Michigan’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a federally funded 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 may assess your home and determine which conservation measures will be the most beneficial for you. Weatherization steps may include adding caulking and weather stripping; wall, basement, and attic insulation and ventilation; and smoke detectors. To be eligible, your household income must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level or you are eligible if you participate in the Family Independence Program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services or receive Supplemental Security Income. Visit https://mcac.memberclicks.net to find the Community Action Agency in your area.