Looking for ways to save on your Consumers Energy bill? Stacy asked and we found answers! For more than 130 years, Consumers Energy has provided electricity to Michigan residents. Currently, over 6.6 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents receive their power through Consumers Energy.
Did you know that Consumers Energy can help you save money on your power bill?
Save Money Every Month on Your Consumers Energy Bill
Apply for the Home Heating Credit!
You don’t want to miss this! Qualifying Michigan renters and homeowners must apply by September 30, 2017.
You may claim the home heating credit if you meet ALL of the following criteria:
- You occupy a Michigan homestead
- You own your home or have a rental agreement
- You qualify based on income
- You were NOT a full-time student who was claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return
- You did NOT live in college or university housing for the entire year.
- You did NOT live in a licensed care facility for the entire year.
Income is calculated in one of two ways. You will use the Standard Credit chart if your income is within these limits, you’re claiming the heating for your Michigan home and you lived in Michigan for any amount of time during the year. You can use the Alternate Credit chart if you’d rather rely on heating costs to compute the amount of the home heating credit.
Apply for Helping Neighbors!
You can save a lot of money by improving the energy-efficiency of your home. After all, you’re paying for all that hot air that escapes through your walls, windows, doorways, roof and more. Energy efficiency stops the leaks and keeps more of that warm air in your home.
Although energy efficiency improvements can be expensive, the Helping Neighbors program will help you improve your energy efficiency absolutely FREE! The income guidelines for this program are very generous. A family of four can make $48,600! A family of 8 can make $81,780!
This program sends an energy expert to visit your home and assess your home’s energy efficiency. During the assessment, the expert will offer to complete FREE energy efficiency upgrades. These services may include insulating pipes or installing free LED bulbs and faucet aerators.
Are you renting? No problem! You may still be eligible to participate with consent from your landlord. To qualify, your building must have four or fewer connected units.
Do you qualify for an additional bill credit?
If you’re age 65 or older, you can receive a Senior Citizen credit on your Consumers Energy bill! This bill is equal to $3.50 per month. That’s $42/year!
If you meet the requirements for the Michigan Home Heating Credit, you can qualify for a $7 monthly credit toward your bill! That’s a savings of $84/year! If you receive natural gas services, you can also receive an $11.75 monthly credit ($141/year) on your natural gas bill!
Unfortunately, you can only receive one of these two credits at a time.
Choose your ideal rate plan.
Consumers Energy allows customers to choose the rate plan that best suits their needs. Most consumers are on the Electric Residential Service Rate plan. You can confirm this by finding the code 1000 on the back of your bill.
But you could potentially have a cheaper option!
With the Time of Use Rate, you save money by using electricity when demand is low. This plan works by shifting your electricity use from high-demand times (like summer afternoons) to low-demand times (like evenings and weekends). If you can wait to run your dishwasher, your laundry machines and other high-demand appliances, you might be able to save money! There are two Time of Use programs that could save you money. Get the details here!
Avoid unpredictably high bills throughout the year.
Like most companies, Consumers Energy offers a convenient budget billing program that helps you level out your seasonal bills. When you enroll in the Budget Plan, Consumers Energy will estimate your annual usage and divide into twelve equal payments. The average amount is about $100/month for electric service and $57/month for natural gas service.
At the end of the year, your last bill will include the difference between what you used and what you paid for. You may owe a balance or you may receive a credit toward your next bill. Your next Budget Plan payment will be adjusted accordingly.
Avoid a Crisis with these Helpful Consumers Energy Programs
Avoid service shut-offs.
If you’ve been living the low income life very long, you’ve probably experienced a dreaded disconnection visit from the utility company. It’s one of the worst feelings ever. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid a shut-off from Consumers Energy.
Your Consumers Energy power cannot be shut off in the following situations:
- You didn’t pay for merchandise, appliances or services OTHER than your electric bill.
- You dispute an unpaid bill.
- You or your spouse are called to full-time active military service.
- You are a Critical Care Customer or have a qualifying medical emergency.
- You are enrolled in the Winter Protection Plan or Shut-off Protection Plan.
If you (or your spouse) are called to active full-time military service, you’ll need to submit verification to Consumers Energy. Once the verification is received, you’ll be protected against shut-off for 90 days. As long as you’re still on active duty, you can extend this for at least one more 90 day period. However, you’ll need to notify Consumers Energy of your change of status as soon as you leave active duty. You’ll still be required to pay for the energy used during this time but a payment arrangement can be made to pay the balance over the course of a year.
If you have a qualifying medical emergency, you can be protected from shut-off for up to 21 days. You’ll need to submit written proof from a medical professional or public health official that a disconnection would aggravate your existing condition. You can re-certify your emergency and extend the shut-off by another 21 days. However, after 63 days, they can and likely will shut your service off. The utility is not required to offer more than 126 days of extension per year.
You will be declared a Critical Care Customer if a physician or medical facility verifies that someone who resides at your address relies on home medical equipment or a life support system and that an interruption of electrical service would be immediately life-threatening.
You can also delay a shut-off if you are a low income customer seeking emergency assistance from an energy assistance program. If you’re looking for resources to help you pay your bill, please notify Consumers Energy immediately so they don’t terminate your service!
If you’re a senior or low income customer, you can enroll in the Winter Protection Plan. With this plan, you’re required to pay about 7% of your annual usage per month and apply for state/federal heating assistance. This rate lasts from November 1 to March 31. In April, the bill will be finalized and you’ll receive new arrangements to help you pay the remaining balance before the next protection period begins.
The Shut-off Protection Plan offers year-round protection from disconnection. To enroll, you’ll have to pay an initial down payment. After that, you’ll pay equal monthly amounts calculated based on your expected usage and a portion of your past due balance.
Apply for the Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE) Program!
With the CARE Program, you can save money on your monthly bills, receive payment rewards and so much more. The CARE Program provides forgiveness for past-due bills (less than $2,000), lowering your monthly payment and energy efficiency improvements.
To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your income must be 150% of the poverty level or less ($3,038 for a family of 4)
- You must be an active Consumers Energy account holder (or spouse of an account holder).
- You must owe less than $2,000 to Consumers Energy.
- You must not have theft or fraud on the account.
- You must be 18 years or older.
- You must be a US citizen or legal alien.
Please be aware that enrollment opens in October. You’ll want to enroll as quickly as possible since enrollment is limited.
Get emergency assistance from other agencies.
If you need additional help, you may be able to receive help from the following agencies:
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provides State Emergency Relief provides up to $850 per energy service (or $1,700 for combined gas and electric) to eligible customers who have past due balances. You can apply online at mibridges.michigan.gov. This program operates between November 1 and May 31.
Depending on the amount of available funds, you may also be able to receive help from the following agencies:
- The Salvation Army: (855)929-1640.
- TrueNorth Community Services: (855) 300-8013.
- THAW: (800) 866-8429.
- Michigan Community Action Agencies: Click here to apply.
- St Vincent de Paul: (877) 788-4623