On August 30, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) awarded $73 million to a state agency and several nonprofits for low-income energy assistance and energy efficiency programs. The largest recipient is the state Department of Human Services (DHS), which administers LIHEAP through its Adult and Family Services Division.
DHS received $35 million to supplement the energy crisis portion of the State Emergency Relief program. This program provides direct assistance with energy bills and shut-off protection for low-income households statewide. Under the energy efficiency grants, DHS received $10 million for statewide distribution to low-income households for energy efficiency upgrades, with up to 20 percent of the grant available for energy education.
Other energy assistance grant recipients are:
The Salvation Army, $6.2 million; the Heat and Warmth Fund, $6 million; and the Michigan Community Action Agency Association, $3 million, with all three using the money to provide direct assistance with energy bills and shut-off protection for low-income households statewide.
Newaygo County Community Services was awarded $3 million to provide direct assistance with energy bills and shut-off protection for low-income households in Benzie, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Wexford counties and the Downriver Community Conference got $1 million to provide direct assistance with energy bills and shut-off protection for low-income households in Wayne and Monroe counties.
Other energy efficiency grants recipients include: Michigan Saves, Inc., $5 million to install energy efficiency upgrades for low-income households as part of the Michigan Retrofit Ramp up Initiative program; Michigan Community Action Agency Association, $1 million for weatherization upgrades for low-income households, with up to 20 percent to be spent on client weatherization education, and Urban Options, Inc., $1 million for weatherization of low-income client's homes, with a focus on heating systems, energy kits, and energy education.
The grants are through Michigan's Low-Income and Energy Efficiency Fund (LIEE), which provides energy bill assistance for low-income customers and promotes the efficient use of energy by all customer classes. Since 2002, the MPSC has awarded LIEE funds yearly for low-income energy programs. The amount released to date is over $500 million. More information is available in Report on the Low-Income and Energy Efficiency Fund, dated October 30, 2009, the MPSC's latest annual report on the fund.