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Shutoff Protection

UPPCO is dedicated to bringing every resident in our service area reliable and safe power. We know our customers may face situations that make it difficult to pay everything owed for the power they consume. The programs below can assist in a wide variety of circumstances.

Assistance Programs

Income qualified customers may need assistance from time to time. These programs are here to help you.

For Assistance with any of the
programs outlined below:

UPPCO CUSTOMER SERVICE

(906) 449-2013 / (800) 562-7680
customerservice@uppco.com

help-with-energy-bill-banner-image

SHUTOFF PROTECTION PROGRAMS:

Winter Protection Plan

Contact: UPPCO (906) 449-2013 / (800) 562-7680

The Winter Protection Plan protects enrolled seniors (age 65 and older) and low-income customers whose annual household income is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, from service shutoffs and high utility bill payments during the heating season (November 1 – March 31).

Who is eligible?

You may qualify for protection and enroll if you receive any of the following services:

  • Receive Michigan Department of Health and Human Services cash assistance including Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Food assistance
  • Medicaid
  • Meet annual income guidelines (see below)

Income eligible customers must pay at least seven percent of their 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 a customer is income eligible and their utility service was shut off before applying for shutoff protection, UPPCO cannot require a fee, a security deposit nor an amount greater than one–twelfth of the arrearage in order to restore service or participate in the program.

All customers 65 or older are eligible regardless of income. However, you are responsible for all service used. At the end of the protection period, all customers must arrange to pay the outstanding bills before the next heating season. If you are a senior citizen whose utility service may have been shut off before applying for the Winter Protection Program, UPPCO must restore your service during the heating season without any payments. Although no specific payments are required during the heating season, seniors are encouraged to pay what they can to avoid large payments when the protection period ends.

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

NOTE: Winter shutoff protections do not apply to customers whose power has been shut off, or who have a pending shutoff, due to unauthorized utility service within the past two years at the customer's current address. This applies until all charges are paid or until the customer makes satisfactory payment arrangements with UPPCO.

Income Guidelines (2019-2020)

for Winter Protection Plan

Number of Household Members
150% of Poverty Guidelines Maximum Income
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
$18,735
$25,365
$31,995
$38,625
$45,255
$51,885
$58,515
$65,145

Senior Citizens

Contact: UPPCO (906) 449-2013 / (800) 562-7680

The account holder who is an eligible senior citizen, age 65 and older, is protected from disconnection of service during the heating season (November 1 through March 31) at the customer’s documented personal residence. UPPCO will restore service for the customer during the heating season without payment of the amount due, deposits, reconnection fees, or other charges. At the end of the heating season, the account will be placed on a payment plan and payment must begin immediately. Contact UPPCO directly to enroll in the Winter Protection Plan.

Medical Emergency Protection

Contact: UPPCO (906) 449-2013 / (800) 562-7680

Medical Certification Form

You can receive a medical hold preventing service from being shut off for nonpayment on your natural gas and/or electric bill for up to 21 days if you or a member of your household has an existing medical condition that would be aggravated by the lack of utility service. Your condition must be certified by a physician or public health office on a Michigan Public Service Commission approved Medical Certification Form. The form must state the medical condition, medical equipment and specific time period a shutoff of utility service would make the medical condition worse. If the shutoff of service occurred before a medical emergency is approved, the utility will restore service at no cost to you for 21 days. You can obtain an extension of the medical hold and a postponement of shutoff of service for a total of 63 days (three separate medical holds) in any 12-month period per household member. Annually, the UPPCO is not required to grant shutoff extensions totaling more than 126 days per household. Customers will be granted a three-business day grace period from shutoff of utility service for time to have the Medical Certification Form completed. A utility shall not require payment for an after-hours reconnect fee or a deposit as a condition of restoring service. The Medical Certification Form is available on UPPCO’s website and can be requested in hard copy. It is also available at
www.michigan.gov/mpsc.

Critical Care Protection

Contact: UPPCO (906) 449-2013 / (800) 562-7680

A customer or household can receive protection from disconnection or have services restored due to inability to pay if there is an identified critical care customer in the home and interruption of service would be immediately life-threatening. A critical care customer is somebody who requires home medical equipment or a life support system that must be certified by a physician or public health office on a Michigan Public Service Commission approved Medical Certification Form. Customers will be granted a three-business day grace period from shutoff of electric service for time to have the Medical Certification Form completed. You will be contacted by UPPCO when any scheduled service interruptions occur. UPPCO will also notify you before any remote shutoff of utility services. If critical care status changes, you, or a person in your household, must let UPPCO know of the status change. However, if a person’s status does not change you must submit an updated Medical Certification Form to the utility on an annual basis. The Medical Certification Form is available from UPPCO here and is also available at www.michigan.gov/mpsc.

Active Duty Military

Contact: UPPCO (906) 449-2013 / (800) 562-7680

If you or your spouse is an UPPCO customer of record and either of you are called to full-time active military service by the President of the United Sates or the Governor of Michigan during a national or state emergency or war, you may apply for shutoff protection of your electric service for up to 90 days. You may also reapply for extensions of this protection. UPPCO may request verification of active duty status. In addition, you must notify UPPCO when your status changes. Contact UPPCO to set up a payment plan for all past due amounts to be paid within twelve months. You will still be required to pay for services used while in the program.

ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS:

Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Grant Program

Contact: Michigan Veterans Trust Fund at (517) 284-5299 or visit the Michigan Veteran's Website

The Trust Fund provides temporary assistance to veterans and their families facing a financial emergency or hardship including the need for energy assistance.

EASE Program (Energy Assistance, Self-sufficiency & Education)

Contact: Superior Watershed Partnership at (906) 273-2742 or visit the Superior Watershed Partnership Website 

Make Your Energy Bill More Manageable. If you need assistance managing your energy bill, the Energy Assistance, Self-sufficiency & Education (EASE) Program may help.  EASE is a two-year affordable payment plan that helps you stay on top of your energy bills. As an EASE member, you will receive the following benefits:

  • A portion of your monthly bill will be paid by the program
  • As an EASE member, you may also be eligible to receive no-cost, in-home energy efficiency upgrades to help reduce your energy costs through Efficiency United. To learn more, call (877) 367-3791 or visit www.EfficiencyUnited.com

To qualify, customers must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be verified income eligible by DHHS.
  • Must be an active, residential UPPCO account holder or the spouse of the account holder
  • Must not have theft, fraud or bankruptcy on the account

EASE enrollment opens 10/1/19 and is on a first come first serve basis. If you are past due and need assistance with your bill, apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) here. On your SER application you will need to choose Superior Watershed Partnership as your Agency Navigator. Your Agency Navigator can help you enroll in EASE and provide self-sufficiency services. Dial 2-1-1 to find assistance in your area.

Upper Peninsula 2-1-1

2-1-1 is a one-stop, around-the-clock free phone and online service that links people with information or agencies that can help with utility assistance and other needs, such as rent payment help, child and elder care, emergency shelters, job training, counseling, etc. Simply dial 2-1-1 on your phone or visit the administering agency's website: UPCAP

State Assistance Programs (1-3 below)

  1. State Emergency Relief Program

    Contact: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at www.michigan.gov/mdhhs

    State Emergency Relief (SER) is a crisis intervention program that provides assistance for energy-related expenses such as heating fuel, electricity and home repairs. SER is supported by the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Eligibility is based on one of the following:

    • Demonstration of immediate need (past due/shutoff notice)
    • Declared need for a deliverable fuel such as propane
    • Verified need for energy-related home repair
    • Income
    • Assets

    *YOU MUST APPLY ONLINE USING MI BRIDGES: https://michigan.gov/mibridges

    Need help applying? https://newmibridges.michigan.gov/s/isd-find-community-partners

  2. Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP)

    Contact: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at www.michigan.gov/mdhhs

    Administering Agency: Michigan Public Service Commission

    Once a State Emergency Relief application has been submitted, additional assistance can be sought through agencies that provide MEAP energy assistance programs that help participants to become self-sufficient. Services include helping participants to pay their energy bills on time, budgeting for and contributing to their ability to provide for energy expenses and assisting participants in becoming more energy efficient.

    Need help applying for State Emergency Relief? Find a MI Bridges Navigator near you: https://newmibridges.michigan.gov/s/isd-find-community-partners, or contact 2-1-1.

    The MEAP is supported by the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF). An electric utility that chooses not to collect for the LIEAF shall not shut off service to customers for non-payment between November 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt out of collecting the LIEAF go to www.michigan.gov/mpsc.

  3. Home Heating Credit

    Contact: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at www.michigan.gov/mdhhs

    Administering Agency: Michigan Dept. of Treasury

    You may apply for a Home Heating Credit (HHC) for the current tax year to help pay winter heating bills if you meet the listed household income guidelines and exemptions. You may claim an exemption for yourself, your spouse, and other dependents. Additional exemptions may also be available. HHC is supported by the Federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

    Forms are generally available in mid to late January where tax forms can be found. Call Treasury at (517) 636-4486 or visit its website at www.michigan.gov/treasury. Some local agencies or utility companies may provide assistance with completing the form, which is due no later than September 30 each year. To find an agency that assists with tax preparation, contact 2-1-1.

    Customers of utilities regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission receive protection from shutoff of their heating fuel service from the time of filing of HHC form with Treasury until the time Treasury issues the credit. However, you must contact UPPCO to let us know you filed for the HHC. Keep a copy of the HHC form you file with the number of exemptions claimed and the amount of the credit to use when requesting the status of your application. You will still be required to pay for the electric services used during the shutoff protection period.

Home Heating Credit

Income Guidelines (2019-2020)

Number of Exemptions
150% of Poverty Guidelines Maximum Income
0-1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
$13,739
$18,601
$23,463
28,325
$33,187
$38,049
$42,911
$47,773

Source: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ocs/comm_liheap_fpg_im_attachments_fy2019.pdf

Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program

Administering Agency: Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity

Michigan’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a federally funded, low-income residential energy conservation program providing free home energy conservation services to eligible homeowners and renters with a household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. You are also eligible if you participate in the Department of Health and Human Services Family Independence Program or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These weatherization services can help reduce energy use and lower utility bills. If you qualify, a trained inspector will assess your home and determine which measures will be the most beneficial for you: adding caulking and weather stripping; wall, basement, and attic insulation and ventilation; and smoke detectors. Contact your local Community Action Agency or go to mcac.memberclicks.net/agency-locator-map for more information. For additional information on saving energy and money, visit
www.energy.gov/energysaver.

Lifeline

Contact: Your Local Wire Line Telephone Company

The Lifeline program makes basic local telephone service more affordable for income-eligible individuals and families in Michigan with an annual household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. You may also qualify if you receive:

  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch
  • Medicaid
  • Food Assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Eligible customers under age 65 may receive a discount up to $11.25 off of the basic local service rate offered by the local telephone service provider. Eligible customers 65 years of age and older can receive a discount of $12.35 off the basic local service rate offered by their local telephone provider.

All basic local exchange telephone service providers in Michigan are required to provide Lifeline. Some wireless providers also offer a Lifeline discount. Contact your local telephone company or check the front pages of your phone book for more information. Additional information regarding Lifeline may be found at:
Michigan Lifeline Consumer Tip 657258
Federal Lifeline Consumer Tip 567256

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