A fairly new program implemented by Consumers Energy is serving as an affordable payment plan to help residents stay on top of their energy bills.

For customers who qualify for the Consumers Energy CARE program and are struggling to pay their energy bills, a portion of the monthly bill is paid for through the program and past due balances are gradually forgiven as a reward for making on-time payments. Participants also qualify for energy-saving tools, including free in-home energy efficiency upgrades.

Spokesperson Debra Dodd says Consumers Energy recently made a $2 million contribution that will help as many as 2,500 households in its CARE program. She tells WHMI the $2 million will be disbursed among four nonprofits across the state, those being United Way of Jackson County, TrueNorth Community Services, The Salvation Army and The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW).

Dodd says help for any customers of any utility is just a phone call away, adding that there are a variety of programs and services available to customers. She says Consumers Energy wants to make sure Michigan’s residents stay warm and have the heat that they need this winter.

Those who are facing hardship with energy bills or other needs are encourage to call 2-1-1; a free service in all Michigan counties that connects people with resources to help in their community. Those who call 2-1-1 can be referred to one of the four nonprofit organizations that are receiving the $2(m) million from Consumers Energy. More information about the CARE program can be found at the link below. (DK)