Many agencies in your area may be able to assist with other household needs, as well as heating assistance. Local assistance agencies include: The Department of Human Services (DHS) – Customer Service Number – 1-855-275-6424 The Home Heating Credit (Treasury, State of Michigan) – 1-517-636-4486 The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) – 1-800-866-THAW (8429) Community Action Agency (CAA)* The Salvation Army* St. Vincent DePaul* Council on Aging* Local churches* *Phone numbers listed in your local telephone directory In addition to the above agencies, the United Way may also be able to direct you to additional services that are offered in your area. The United Way can be reached at 2-1-1 (dialed from your home telephone), which is a free phone service that links people with information or agencies that can help with utility assistance and other needs. Calls are confidential and answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Translation service is available. If 2-1-1 is not available in your area, consult your local phone directory for the United Way office nearest you. WINTER PROTECTION PLAN (WPP) CONTACT: SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company EFFECTIVE DATES: November 1 through March 31 The Winter Protection Program may protect lowincome and senior customers (65 years or more) from service 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 percent of poverty level (as shown in the income guideline chart)** or receive any of the following: Department of Human Services cash assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps or Medicaid. Participation in the Winter Protection Plan does not relieve the customer of responsibility for paying for natural gas usage, but will prevent heating season shut off if on-time payments are made. Costs deferred through the winter months will be reconciled and at the end of the protection period, the account balance will be converted into monthly installments to be paid April through October along with the current bill. HOUSEHOLD SIZE One Two Three Four MAXIMUM INCOME $17,235 $23,265 $29,295 $35,325 Add $6,030 for each additional household member. **PROVISIONS: • Customers must 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. • When the Winter Protection period ends March 31, your payment amount will change. You must pay your current monthly bill plus part of the amount you owe from the Winter Protection period in equal installments. You may also choose to pay the remaining Winter Protection period balance or pre-enrollment balance and go on the Installment Plan between April and October. MEDICAL EMERGENCY PROTECTION CONTACT: SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company If you, or any household member, have 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. MILITARY PROTECTION CONTACT: SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company 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 shut off protection for up to 90 days. An extension may be requested. Verification of active duty status may be required. SENIOR PROTECTION PROGRAM CONTACT: SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company EFFECTIVE DATES: November 1 through March 31 Any customer 65 years or older, regardless of income and 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. MICHIGAN ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM CONTACT: Local Electric Utility Company Shut off protection is provided from November 1 through April 15 for all residential customers (regardless of income) of any utility company providing electric service in Michigan that has chosen not to collect the $.99 monthly surcharge from its customers for the Low-Income Assistance Fund. HOW TO REACH SEMCO ENERGY www.semcoenergygas.com CUSTOMER SERVICE: 1-800-624-2019 or [email protected] GAS LEAKS AND OTHER EMERGENCIES: 1-888-GAS-1-GAS (1-888-427-1427) STATE EMERGENCY RELIEF (SER) PROGRAM CONTACT: Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) You do not have to be a client of DHS to apply for help through the SER crisis intervention program. This program is available year-round, subject to availability of funds, to assist low-income households that have received an energy past-due notice or need deliverable fuel. If you receive a DHS cash grant, you may vendor part of that grant towards an energy bill. Contact your local DHS office or your case worker. The SER Program application may also be found online at www.michigan.gov/mibridges. 2013 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. ENERGY EFFICIENCY REBATES CONTACT: Efficiency United Visit www.efficiencyunited.com or call (877-367-3191) for information on rebates available to SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company customers. Rebates are available for ENERGY STAR appliances, as well as for other energy conservation measures. ENERGY STAR® labeled products can cut your energy bills by up to 30 percent. Find retailers near you at Energystar.gov when you’re ready to replace your heating and cooling systems – as well as other appliances. HOME HEATING CREDIT CONTACT: The Michigan Department of the Treasury Effective Dates: January 1 through September 30 You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2013 tax year if you meet the listed income guidelines. To apply, 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, 2014, with the State of Michigan Treasury. Exemptions Income Ceiling One $12,642 Two $17,071 Three $21,500 Four $25,929 Five $30,328 Six $34,757 For each exemption over six, add $4,429. 2013 STATE EARNED INCOME CREDIT (SEIC) CONTACT: Michigan Department of Treasury For the 2013 tax year, a taxpayer may claim a Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which the taxpayer is eligible, if any. See the 2013 Michigan Income Tax booklet for additional 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. November / December 2013 www.semcoenergygas.com SEMCO ENERGY PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS 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 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. SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company coordinates with agencies throughout the state who offer payment plans and assistance programs to help customers with their gas bills. Contact SEMCO ENERGY as soon as you know you cannot pay your entire gas bill. You may be eligible for assistance from various agencies in your area and/or we may work with you to set up a payment plan.
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