Governor Applauds Move to Speed Up Grant Process for Low-Income Energy Assistance

Contact: Elizabeth Boyd (517) 335-6397

February 6, 2003

Governor Jennifer Granholm today applauded action taken by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) yesterday to speed up the process for low-income energy assistance grants at a time when cold temperatures have resulted in higher heating bills, leaving many low-income residents facing utility shutoffs. The move will expedite up to $20 million in grant funds.

“This action recognizes the need for the immediate release of these funds,” said Governor Granholm. “We’ve got six more weeks of winter. We can’t afford to make people wait months for help with their bills.”

Normally, the request for the submission of grant proposals would not take place until the fall of this year.

The MPSC yesterday issued an order (Case No. U-13129) requesting that grant proposals be submitted to the Commission on or before February 19. The Commission will review the proposals and approve the grants at a special meeting later this month.

“Because so many people find themselves in dire circumstances due to Michigan’s very cold winter and increases in natural gas prices, it is imperative Michigan’s low-income citizens receive immediate help, thus necessitating that we expedite the grant process,” noted Commission Chairman Laura Chappelle.

In awarding grants, significant consideration will be given to grantees that are able to efficiently reach large number of citizens quickly, such as non-profit organizations and the Family Independence Agency.

The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Consumer and Industry Services.