Superior Watershed Partnership offers energy assistance

The Superior Watershed Partnership is offering assistance for home energy costs through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 6:31 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP)’s Michigan Energy Assistance Program is ready to help those who are dreading cold weather energy costs.

The program works with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to offer assistance to individuals or families at or below 150% of the federal poverty line.

“Once they are approved, we can help them for up to $2,500 per grant term with their heat and their electric bills. We can also help with the SER co-pays. We do have program requirements, they have to meet before we can do that, but we help 2,500 families every year with energy assistance,” said Tonya Swenor, SWP Energy & Climate Program manager.

Swenor says the SWP works to help families in need through short-term financial difficulties but also helps make their homes more energy efficient.

“By providing energy assistance we’re helping people through their immediate crisis but, we take it further than that. We provide energy education, so we can help people learn how to reduce their energy consumption. We offer home energy assessments where we come in the home and provide additional education and install items in their home and then we can even come back and do weatherization and sometimes even residential solar installation,” Swenor said.

Swenor also says people shouldn’t feel ashamed to ask for assistance.

“We see a lot of people that come here and they feel really bad about asking for help, but we’re here to help. That’s why we’re here and the money comes from the people of the state. It’s collected from a funding factor on their utility bills. People need help sometimes and that’s why we’re here and they should never feel bad to come here,” Swenor said.

Energy Assistance Program applications are accepted through September each year. Oct. 1 begins a new fiscal year, so people would have to reapply after that date.