The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on March 18 added an additional $1 million to the $55 million in Low-Income and Energy Efficiency Fund grants made in September last year to nine organizations.
"Michigan has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of households seeking help with heating bills," noted MPSC Chairman Orjiakor Isiogu. "The Michigan Public Service Commission recognizes that an urgent need exists to make additional funding available to help the increasing number of low-income households that are struggling to pay heating bills."
Today's order amends the September order by providing an additional $1 million in funding divided among the nine organizations that were previously awarded grants.
The majority of the funding, $636,400, went to the Michigan Department of Human Services, the LIHEAP grantee, to provide assistance with energy bills for low-income households statewide. Other major recipients were the Salvation Army, $109,000; The Heat and Warmth Fund, $90,900 and Michigan Community Action Agency Association, $75,500. The remainder was distributed among the Newaygo County Community Services, Downriver Community Conference, Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Inc, Lighthouse Emergency Services, and Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
On March 23 the state’s largest utility, DTE Energy, the National Fuel Funds Network, the Michigan Public Service Commission, the Heat and Warmth Fund, the Salvation Army and the Michigan Department of Human Services held a press conference urging more LIHEAP funding for the current fiscal year.
“We have seen thousands of our customers who have never needed help before seeking assistance,” said Fred Shell, DTE Energy vice president, in a press release. “This funding is desperately needed to help people manage their utility bills without resorting to extreme measures to keep the lights and heat turned on.”
Source: MPSC, state newspapers