A more “typical” cold winter is in the forecast for Michigan, which is why DTE Energy is donating $10 million to Michigan outreach agencies to help low-income residents across the state stay safe and warm. Frigid weather has already affected many customers, even before the official start of the season, and this donation will help provide energy assistance and drive enrollment of nearly 3,600 customers per year in DTE’s Low-Income Self Sufficiency Plan (LSP) payment program for the next four years.
“Extreme cold and snow have already hit most of the state pretty hard, and we understand that this causes challenges and creates just one more burden for our customers to deal with,” said Mark W. Stiers, president and chief operating officer of DTE Gas, DTE Energy. “We’re committed to providing assistance to customers to help lighten the load, especially during the holidays. This $10 million donation will allow our agency partners to help many of our customers keep the heat and lights on during the upcoming holiday season and through the New Year.”
The donations will be given to and administered by the Salvation Army, The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) and the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and will provide relief to elderly, unemployed, underemployed and disabled DTE customers across Michigan who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
“The Salvation Army is excited to enhance our working relationship with DTE and are grateful for the opportunity to serve more low income households through the LSP program,” said Darcy Cunningham, director, Energy Assistance Services, Salvation Army. “The LSP program is a great tool to help support stability for households that have trouble affording their energy bills.”
“DTE’s generous donation will help THAW stabilize and empower more Michigan residents and keep them healthy, safe and warm this winter,” said Saunteel Jenkins, chief executive officer of The Heat and Warmth Fund. “This donation boosts our utility assistance, energy education, and case management services that provide the temporary support many families need for long-term stability.”
“DTE and United Way have enjoyed a lengthy, powerful partnership that has kept the heat on for thousands of Southeastern Michigan families while empowering them to become self-sufficient,” said Tanya Heidelberg Yopp, interim CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “Along with resources from 2-1-1, this gift will help even more families get on the road to self-sufficiency this winter.”
DTE’s Low Income Self-Sufficiency Plan program allows customers to make affordable monthly payments based on income and energy usage. More than 40,000 residents were enrolled in LSP during the 2016-2017 program year, and DTE anticipates potentially greater need this heating season. All three agencies will be conducting enrollment until Spring 2018 for eligible individuals seeking utility assistance for the 2017 – 2018 program year, which runs through October 2018.