Contact: Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op
The Winter Protection Plan protects eligible senior and low-income customers from service shut-offs and high utility bill payments during the winter months (November 1 through March 31).
You may enroll between Nov. 1 and March 31. To participate, you must agree to the terms of the Winter Protection Plan for the upcoming heating season.
For the purposes of this program, a low- income member is someone whose household income does not exceed 150% of federal poverty guidelines or who receives any of the following:
• Department of Human Services cash assistance,
• Food Stamps, or
If you are an eligible low-income customer, you will not have utility service discontinued from November 1 through March 31, if:
• You pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month and
• You make monthly payments of 1/12 of any past due bills.
If you are an eligible low-income customer whose utility service has been shut-off before applying for Winter Protection, the utility cannot require you to pay a fee for restoring your service or a security deposit during the space-heating season. The utility also cannot require you to pay more than one- twelfth of your arrearage in order to restore service or to initiate participation in the Winter Protection Program.
You are an eligible senior citizen customer if you are 65 years of age or older. If you are an eligible senior citizen customer you may enroll between November 1 and March 31. When Winter Protection ends (March 31), you must begin to repay the full monthly bill plus a portion of the amount owed from the winter months, each month from April 1 through October 31. If you are an eligible senior citizen and participate in the Winter Protection Plan, you are not required to make specific payments between November 1 and March 31 to ensure that your service will not be shut-off. However, you are encouraged to pay whatever you can during the winter so you will not have large, unmanageable bills when the protection period ends.
Participation does not relieve members from responsibility for paying for electricity and natural gas usage, but does prevent shut-off during the winter months. At the end of the protection period, both low-income and senior citizens participating in the plan must call to make arrangements to pay any money owed before the start of the next protection period.
For more information, see your November-December issue of Michigan Country Lines magazine.