State representative shares resources to aid with winter utilities, energy saving practices

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — State Rep. Brad Paquette, of Berrien Springs, reminded area residents of resources available to help pay utility bills as well as tips to keep winter energy costs in check.

“Cold weather means more energy is needed to keep your homes safe and warm,” Paquette said. “I want to ensure my residents have timely access to information that will keep their heat on and their costs under control.”

Residents may be eligible for assistance with their energy bills through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program, which funds utility bill payments and efforts to help customers be self-sufficient in paying utility bills. For more information on MEAP, residents can call the Michigan Public Service Commission Customer Assistance line at (800) 292-9555, or by dialing 211.

Additionally, residents having difficulty paying their utility bills should consider contacting their local utility provider to see what assistance programs they have available. Indiana Michigan Power, for example, offers a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help customers manage their utility bills. For more information on LIHEAP, people can visit indianamichiganpower.com/account/bills/assistance/.

Rep. Paquette offered five other ways to help keep utility bills low:

• Check furnace filters. Clean filters allow furnaces to run more efficiently.

• Install a programmable thermostat to save about 10 percent on heating costs.

• Seal air leaks around windows, doors, or utility access points.

• Add tempered glass doors to fireplaces to avoid losing indoor heat through the chimney.

• Schedule a home energy assessment to identify ways to cut energy waste. Rebates on heating, ventilation and air conditioning; appliances; lighting; insulation; and other improvements are available through utilities. Michigan Saves offers low-cost financing.

“If you have any questions about these programs or need help applying for them, please use my office as a resource,” Paquette said. “I understand navigating bureaucracy can be challenging at times, and I am always available to help you.”

Residents may contact Rep. Paquette’s office at either (517) 373-1796 or by emailing BradPaquette@house.mi.gov.

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