May 22, 2012, Introduced by Senators CASWELL and NOFS and referred to the Committee on Energy and Technology.
A bill to provide energy assistance for low-income households;
and to prescribe certain powers and duties of certain state
departments and agencies.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:
Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
"Michigan energy assistance act".
Sec. 2. As used in this act:
(a) "Crisis" means 1 of the following:
(i) An individual or recipient has received a past due notice
on an energy bill for his or her household.
(ii) A residential fuel tank is estimated to contain not more
than 25% of its heating fuel capacity.
(iii) A stated need for deliverable fuel.
(iv) A notice that the balance in a prepayment account is below
a minimum amount.
(b) "Department" means the department of human services.
(c) "Eligible low-income household" means a household with a
household income of not more than 150% of the federal poverty
(d) "Energy assistance" means a government program to help an
eligible low-income household pay home heating and cooling bills.
(e) "Federal poverty guidelines" means the poverty guidelines
published annually in the federal register by the United States
department of health and human services under its authority to
revise the poverty line under section 673(2) of subtitle B of title
VI of the omnibus budget reconciliation act of 1981, 42 USC 9902.
(f) "Funds" means money received from the federal low income
home energy assistance program block grant that is not used for the
home heating credit, money received from the low-income energy
assistance fund created in section 9t of 1939 PA 3, MCL 460.9t, or
any other money appropriated for this program.
(g) "Program" means the Michigan energy assistance program
established in section 3.
Sec. 3. (1) Not later than October 1, 2012, the department
shall establish and administer the Michigan energy assistance
program statewide to provide energy assistance to eligible low-
(2) The department may use funds received from a federal
energy assistance program and any funds collected or appropriated
to fund the program.
(3) The program must include services that will enable
participants to become or move toward becoming energy self-
sufficient. By October 1, 2014, each entity that contracts with the
department under this section shall provide these services. The
department shall attempt to coordinate efforts to assist in
achieving energy self-sufficiency through the program with efforts
to assist in achieving self-sufficiency through the department's or
other state department's housing assistance program.
(4) The department shall develop a simplified, single
application for all applicants to use to apply for energy
assistance under the program. The single application shall be made
available to all entities that contract with the department to
provide services under the program.
Sec. 4. (1) The department shall not use money from the low-
income energy assistance fund created in section 9t of 1939 PA 3,
MCL 460.9t, for weatherization or self-sufficiency services in the
(2) Money from the low-income energy assistance fund created
in section 9t of 1939 PA 3, MCL 460.9t, may be used for the
program's crisis season in the Lower Peninsula, which begins on
November 1 and ends May 31 each year. The Upper Peninsula does not
have a crisis season under the program. Not more than 30% of the
funds received for the program shall be spent outside of the crisis
season in the Lower Peninsula. The department shall implement the
provisions of this subsection and may do so over a 2-year period.
Sec. 5. (1) The department, in consultation with the Michigan
public service commission, may contract with different public or
private entities or local units of government to provide energy
assistance to eligible low-income households.
(2) The department shall include clear performance metrics in
any contract with an entity under this section.
(3) Except as provided in this subsection, an entity with
which the department contracts under subsection (1) shall use not
less than 92% of the funds received from the department for energy
assistance. An entity with which the department contracts under
subsection (1) may, upon approval from the department, use less
than 92% but not less than 90% of the funds received for the
program for energy assistance.
Sec. 6. This act does not apply after September 30, 2016.