Two factors are absolutely critical to our mission of helping our low-income neighbors and citizens pay for and better manage their energy use -- the amount of funding availableto help pay their energy bills and adequate resources to help make their homes more energy efficient.
What is WAP?
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income Michigan families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. These federal funds are used to improve the energy performance of dwellings of income qualified families using the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available in the housing industry. There are thirty (30) Community Action Agencies (CAAs) providing free weatherization assistance to low-income households throughout the state of Michigan. Through the federal U. S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program created in 1976, and partnerships with many of the state’s utility companies Energy Optimization programs and other funding sources, the CAAs have resources to help qualified households reduce their energy use and lower their utility bills.
WHAT IS LIHEAP?
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program administered through the State of Michigan. The funds allocated on an annual basis provide the majority of energy assistance that is available to Michigan’s low-income households. LIHEAP’s purpose is “to assist low-income households, particularly those with the lowest income, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs."
LIHEAP enables states like Michigan to implement their own programs to best meet the needs of their low-income residents while limiting administrative expenses to just 10 percent of the amount allocated. This makes LIHEAP an extremely cost-effective program when compared with other federal assistance programs.
What is MEAP?
On June 8, 2016, House Bill 5512 was signed by Governor Snyder extending the Michigan Energy Assistance Program for three years, until Sept. 30, 2019. This bill ensures the availability of $50 million in Low-Income Energy Assistance Funds to provide energy assistance to low-income customers. It is now Public Act 147 of 2016.
On March 28, 2013 Public Act 615 of the Michigan Public Acts of 2012 was enacted creating the Michigan Energy Assistance Act that requires the Michigan Department of Human Services to establish and administer the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). The purpose of the MEAP is to establish and administer programs statewide that provide energy assistance and self-sufficiency services to eligible low-income households.
On July 1, 2013 Public Act 95 of the Michigan Public Acts of 2013 was enacted creating the Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF) charging the Michigan Department of Human Services with expending money from the fund as provided by the Michigan Energy Assistance Act. The Act allows the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to annually approve a low-income energy assistance funding factor, not to exceed $50,000,000, to support the LIEAF.
On July 23, 2015, in Case No. U-17377, the MPSC adopted a funding factor of 98 cents per meter per month for all Michigan electric utilities that have opted to participate in the funding of the LIEAF, effective for the September 2015 billing month.