This guest post is from Herman B. Gray, MD, MBA President & CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
As Michigan’s summer temperatures continue to break records, many of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors are feeling the financial burden of paying for increased utility usage. At United Way for Southeastern Michigan, we believe that a family should never have to choose between buying groceries or paying the utility bill. Yet we know the No. 1 request for help we receive through our 2-1-1 resource call center is for utility payment assistance.
That’s why we’re delighted that DTE Energy has made a $2.5 million donation to United Way for Southeastern Michigan to support DTE’s Low Income Self-Sufficiency Plan, which offers a low, affordable payment plan for eligible families.
Families enrolled in the program receive:
- affordable fixed monthly payments based on income and energy usage,
- relief from outstanding payments, which are frozen at the time of enrollment with the possibility of reduction if regular monthly payments are made,
- self-sufficiency training,
- dedicated customer advocates ready to assist customers from shut off while on the plan,
- and the elimination of late payment charges.
At United Way for Southeastern Michigan, our role in this vital work is to verify and enroll households into LSP. During the 2015-2016 program year, more than 35,000 residents were enrolled. DTE Energy’s generous gift will allow us to enroll 3,000 more households who were affected by this year’s extreme temperatures. Our dedicated LSP team is re-enrolling participants from last year and will begin taking new applicants on Sept. 1. More information can be found at www.liveunitedsem.org/lsp.
We are grateful to our corporate partners like DTE Energy who are committed to improving the lives of people right here at home.