SENATE BILL No. 1135

 

 

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

 

guidelines.

 

     (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-

 

income households.

 

     (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

 

program.

 

     (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.