Consumers Energy providing home heating assistance this winter

Funding available to customers in need

Consumers Energy is provide home heating assistance to customers in need this winter.

Consumers Energy is provide home heating assistance to customers in need this winter.

Photo courtesy of Consumers Energy

MECOSTA, OSCEOLA, LAKE COUNTY — The official start of winter is right around the corner and Consumers Energy is providing funding to assist those in need of help with staying warm during the winter months, according to a recent news release from the organization.

On Dec. 8, Consumers Energy announced that they will be providing up to $7.25 million to help customers pay heating bills, providing a lifeline to thousands of families this winter. 

“Consumers Energy understands many Michiganders are facing challenging times, and no one wants to see rising energy bills ― especially our most vulnerable customers. We recognize our responsibility to help our customers who count on us every day,” said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s president and CEO. “Natural gas prices have climbed across the Midwest and nation, and we are committed to helping customers manage their bills and help those in need immediately.”

According to the release, the funds will go to eight Michigan nonprofits that will help people directly with their energy bills, including The Salvation Army, TrueNorth Community Services, United Way of South Central Michigan, Roscommon County United Way, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Superior Watershed Partnership and Michigan Veterans Trust Fund.

“TruNorth Community Services in Newaygo County and Roscommon United Way are two of the closest local organizations who are receiving this funding to distribute to customers,” Josh Paciorek, West Michigan Media Relations Specialist and Spokesman for Consumers Energy
 told the Pioneer. “The Salvation Army and Michigan Veterans Trust Fund are two statewide nonprofits that would also serve this area.”

Consumers Energy customers facing hardship or trying to access the new funding may call 2-1-1, a free resource that connects Michiganders with nonprofits to find help with basic needs, the release said. Customers may also call 800-477-5050 if they are facing challenges with paying their electric bill.

Many homes and businesses will see double-digit percent increases in their heating bills this winter, which has spurred Consumers Energy to help customers reduce their bills and provide direct assistance to those in need.

“We want to keep the people we serve safe and comfortable in their own homes and want everyone to know Consumers Energy is doing all we can to help,” Rochow said. “Whether you need assistance or know someone who does, please spread the word that help is available and just a phone call away. Let’s care for each other this holiday season by looking out for each other.”

Consumers Energy offers the following tips to help manage winter energy bills:

  • Have your heating system tuned and inspected by a service professional. Heat losses from a poorly maintained system can range between 1-2      percent a year.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter often during the heating season. If your furnace can “breathe” more easily, it will use less energy.
  • Dial your thermostat down at night and add an extra blanket for warmth.
  • Make sure your attic, basement, garage and exterior doors are closed to prevent cold drafts from getting in and heat from getting out.
  • Turn on your ceiling fan. Ceiling fans set at a slow speed push warm air away from the ceiling and move it around the room without creating a chilling breeze.