Assistance

Payment Assistance Programs

SEMCO ENERGY 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 arrangement 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 2016-2017 heating season:

SEMCO ENERGY Programs
 
MONTHLY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MAP)

EFFECTIVE DATES: Beginning October 1

MAP is an income-based, budget program that provides qualifying customers with a reduced budget amount through the end of September. Please Click Here to visit the MAP page for more information.

WINTER PROTECTION PLAN (WPP)

EFFECTIVE DATES: November 1 through March 31

The Winter Protection Program may protect low-income and senior customers (65 years or older) from disconnection 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 poverty level (as shown in the income guideline chart) or receive any of the following:

  • Department of Health and Human Services cash assistance

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Food Stamps

  • Medicaid

Participation in the Winter Protection Plan does not relieve eligible customers of responsibility for paying for natural gas but will prevent disconnection if on time payments are made. Unpaid charges accumulated through the winter months will be reconciled and at the end of the protection period, and the account balance will be converted into monthly installments to be paid April through October along with the current bill.

HOUSEHOLD SIZE

MAXIMUM INCOME

One

$17,820

Two

$24,030

Three

$30,240

Four

$36,450

Five

$42,660

Six

$48,870

Seven

$55,095

Eight

$61,335

Add $6,240 for each additional household member


WPP PROVISIONS:

  • You can apply through SEMCO ENERGY for the program and must, within 14 days, demonstrate having made application 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 Winter Protection 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 energy shut off for nonpayment of your bill for up to 21 days. You must provide written proof from your physician or from a public health official that service shut off will aggravate an existing medical condition. Contact SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company 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 ENERGY of their eligibility, is protected from shut off during the effective dates. At the end of this protection period, the total bill will be required unless arrangements are made to pay the balance in installment payments 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 have been called to full-time active military service by the President of the United States or the Governor of Michigan during a declared national or state emergency or war, 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 2016 tax year beginning January 2017. To be eligible, you must meet the income guidelines as shown on the chart below and own or rent your residence (includes rented 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 State of Michigan Treasury.

Please contact SEMCO ENERGY once you have filed for the Home Heating Credit. Protection is available to allow time for the credit 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.

Home Heating Credit Form

EXEMPTIONS

INCOME CEILING

One

$13,070

Two

$17,642

Three

$22,185

Four

$26,756

Five

$31,299

Six

$35,842

For each exemption over six, add $4,571.



2016 EARNED INCOME CREDIT (EIC)

CONTACT: Internal Revenue Service/Tax Preparer or U.S. Treasury Department

The Earned Income Credit is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income workers. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income taxes may qualify for an EIC, but must file a tax return to get the credit.

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, low-income 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 will 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. Eligibility is based on your household income. If you participate in the Family Independence Program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services or receive Supplemental Security Income, you automatically qualify for this program. Go to www.mcaaa.org website to find the Community Action Agency in your area.