Utility Assistance for Consumer Energy customers.

Subject: BIG BILL PROGRAM: Utility Assistance for Consumers Energy customers provided by Salvation Army

This is an informational message to share with assistance staff so that they will be aware of a program offered by the Salvation Army in limited areas throughout the State (see specifics below). The Directors have been notified.

The Big Bill Program is a fund created to assist Consumers Energy customers with high arrearages on their accounts. DHS workers should suggest this program to clients, as a resource to Consumers Energy customers who have a balance, when DHS is unable to assist.

As SER considers only the shut off amount and not the total balance, it is possible that clients could benefit from this program.

Additionally, if a worker has a client who is behind on their Consumers bill, but not in “shut-off” status, they should be referred to this program since shut-off is not a requirement for potential eligibility for the program.

Eligibility Criteria:
1. Must be a Consumers Energy Account Holder.
2. Must not have theft on the account.
3. A shut-off notice is not required!
4. Must have household income of 60% of State Median Income or less.
5. The first $1,000 applied to the account must come from other sources than this fund and may
not come from People Care Bill Credits, either Matching or Grant. Potential sources
include DHS-SER, VHWF, customer co-pay, EFSP, People Care Benevolent / Customer
Donated Fund, General Assistance from your corps, and other locally raised dollars.
6. After the first $1,000 is paid toward the account, the customer may be assisted with a
maximum of nine thousand ($9,000.00) from this fund. If an exception is required, please
email the Utility Payment Desk for authorization prior to submittal.

7. Clients will be expected to partner with the Salvation Army Worker in creating a plan to
address their current and ongoing emergency needs. This may include budget
counseling and a plan for accountability
8. Applicants are eligible for assistance from this limited time fund only once.
Funding is available from March 15, 2012 through September 30, 2012 on a first
come first served basis. A sum of $1,800,000.00 has been allocated for assisting Salvation Army clients. Fund may be accessed by submitting a request on a ServicePoint™ Utility Assistance Sub-Assessment as you normally would. If using other funds that require review, such as VHWF, please use the same assessment for requesting both VHWF and the CE Big Bill Program.

This program is not statewide but is available at the 38 Salvation Army sites in Consumers Energy service territory -see below

Battle Creek
Bay City
Benton Harbor
Big Rapids
Booth Fam. Serv. Lansing
Dearborn Heights
EM Service Ext, Flint – middle & NE MI counties
Farmington Hills
Grand Haven
Grand Rapids
Mt. Clemens
Mt. Pleasant
Pontiac N.Wayne/ Westland
Royal Oak
Traverse City