Help is on the way for Michiganders dealing with high energy bills.

It's no secret that energy bills start to rise in Michigan during this time of year. It's one of the facts of life that we deal with living in a state with four seasons. The problem is that the pandemic has left a lot of us in a financial hole. Paying for higher heating bills is just another strain on all of us right now. Luckily Michigan is stepping up with more than $54 Million in grant money for organizations to help residents this winter.

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The money was distributed between 9 different community services that help families pay their utility bills. Details of the grant, including how much each agency received can be found here.

It sounds nice to hear about that much money being allocated to helping people deal with high energy bills, but it doesn't mean anything if you don't ask for help.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is letting their pride get in the way of planning ahead. Many wait until they are in dire need of help, and end up losing services. The best way to avoid being in that situation is to be proactive now. Even if you are at risk of running into problems, you should get information on how to receive help. The money has been put out there for that reason, so there is no shame in asking for it.

The best ways to find what help is available to you are at the Michigan Energy Assistance Program website here. One of the best first steps you can take is to call 211 or go to the 211 website. It serves as an informational first step toward getting help from the state.

The MEAP program does list a few ways you can reduce your bill before you need assistance on their site. Some are listed below.

  • Check furnace filters and change them monthly or as recommended by the manufacturer. Clean filters allow furnaces to run more efficiently.
  • Install a programmable thermostat and save on heating costs by lowering temperatures during daytime hours. Dressing for cold weather and turning down the thermostat another degree or two helps save money.
  • Seal air leaks around windows, doors, or utility access points.
  • Schedule a home energy assessment to identify ways to cut energy waste. Rebates on heating, ventilation and air conditioning, appliances, lighting, insulation and other improvements are available through utilities.

 

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