Throughout the evolving coronavirus pandemic circumstances, Cloverland Electric Cooperative ensured continued access to electricity for vulnerable households struggling to pay utility bills. After an initial extension, disconnects due to non-payment were set to occur June 1, 2020. Although Cloverland Electric begins a return to normal operations, the cooperative will continue to suspend disconnects for non-payment until June 15.
“As a cooperative, assisting our members in as many ways as possible is key,” said Cloverland Electric President and CEO Mike Heise. “One of these factors is ensuring continued access to a vital resource regardless of past due balances that would typically result in disconnection.”
Eligible state residents having trouble paying energy bills during the COVID-19 pandemic can have payments made to their utility accounts by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to keep services connected. MDHHS is issuing COVID-19-related Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) direct support payments to utility accounts of eligible customers. Payments will be reflected on the utility bill.
This direct payment pilot program builds on work MDHHS has already done to streamline its primary program for energy assistance available to eligible families across the state – State Emergency Relief (SER). A primary goal of the direct payment pilot is to ease access to energy assistance statewide through SER. Automatic approval of the direct payments reduces SER applications, allowing caseworkers to process the applications that are submitted more quickly.
Members in disconnect status who receive public assistance benefits through one of the following programs are automatically eligible – Food Assistance Program, Family Independence Program or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Members in disconnect status who are not eligible for the direct payment program or are served by other providers may apply for State Emergency Relief for help with their utility bills by visiting Michigan.gov/MIBridges or can Cloverland to discuss payment options. Members should Call 2-1-1 or visit mi211.org to learn about agencies in your county that can assist with your electric bill. A list of local agencies are listed on cloverland.com/billing-assistance.