In July 2015, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) increased the monthly surcharge that raises money for the Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF) from 97 to 98 cents per meter for the 2015-2016 season.

The surcharge is limited to electric bills and one electric residential meter per residential site, and became effective on electric bills generated on or after Oct. 1, 2015. Annual bills are prorated accordingly.

Michigan co-ops currently participating in LIEAF are Alger Delta, Midwest Energy, Presque Isle Electric & Gas, and Thumb. Utilities can opt in or out of the program each year.

Co-op members and customers of other utilities not participating in LIEAF can still get assistance through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which also delivers short-term aid to ensure that the most vulnerable citizens can pay their energy bills during the coldest and hottest weather.

For all co-ops, a list of assistance programs and contacts will again be published in the November/December issue of Michigan Country Lines.

The Fund is part of Public Act 95, which authorizes the MPSC to raise up to $50 million annually for low-income energy assistance.