ATQ: Residents get power shut off despite assistance fund - WNEM TV 5

ATQ: Residents get power shut off despite assistance fund

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

If you look closely at your utility bill, you'll notice a small charge that helps something called the low income assistance fund.

That fund helps pay the bills for those who can't afford to heat their homes. Yet, there's still stories of people having their utilities turned off.

"I was mad because it shouldn't be, not in this time of year," said Debbie Bond, resident.

She saw TV5's Rescue Squad last week about Sheila Burk and her son James. Their power was shut off and it was freezing cold. The family eventually got their power back thanks to DHS, but Bond wonders why they got their power turned off in the first place - especially since residents pay into a low income assist fund surcharge as part of their electric bill.

"Don't understand why power is being shut off when our Consumers bill shows that we are paying 96 cents or 99 cents a month for low income assistance. Why is the power being shut off," Bond said.

A spokesperson for Consumers Energy said that surcharge funds the Michigan Energy Assistance Program. He also said Consumers Energy is taking proactive measures to make sure customers know about the assistance available to them, including programs for senior citizens and qualifying customers that offer shutoff protection plans from Nov. 1 through March 31.

Consumers also said 90,000 customers who are behind on their energy bills received postcards last week alerting them that they are behind and services are available to them.

It's all in an effort to remind them of the financial resources available to them.

Bond insists everyone should have power when it's cold, whether they know about financial assistance or not.

"Consumers should be more helpful or careful on who they shut off and if it's already December, why did that lady's power get shut off," Bond said.

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