The Winter Protection plan (WPP) protects enrolled seniors (age 65 and older) and low-income customers whose annual household income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level, from service shutoffs and high utility bill payments during the heating season (November 1 – March 31). You may also enroll if you receive any of the following services:

  • Michigan Department of Health & Human Services cash assistance including Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Food Assistance
  • Medicaid


  • If you are low income, you must pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month during the protection period. If an arrearage exists at the time you apply for shutoff protection, you must pay the arrearage in equal monthly installments between the date you apply and the start of the next heating season
  • If you are low-income and your utility service was shut off before you applied for shutoff protection, the utility cannot require a fee, a security deposit nor an amount greater than one-twelfth of your arrearage in order to restore service or participate in the program.
  • If you are a senior citizen whose utility service may have been shut off before apply for Winter Protection, the utility company must restore your service during the heating season without any payments. Although no specific payments are required during the heating season, you are encouraged to pay what you can to avoid large payments when the protection period ends.

Participation does not relieve you from the responsibility for paying for electricity, but does prevent a shutoff during the winter months. At the end of the protection period, both low-income and seniors participating in the plan must arrange with their utility company to pay any money owed before the start of the next protection period.

Except customers 65 years or older, winter shutoff protections do not apply to customers that are shutoff, or who had a pending shutoff for unauthorized utility service within the past 2 years at the customer’s current address, until all charges are paid or the customer makes satisfactory payment arrangements with UPPCO

Winter Protection Plan Income Guidelines (2016-2017)
Number of Household Members 150% of Poverty Level
1 $17,820
2 $24,030
3 $30,240
4 $36,450
5 $42,660
6 $48,870
7 $55,095
8 $61,335

*Add $6,240 for each additional household member.

For more information, call UPPCO at 800-562-7680 or 906-449-2013.