We have just learned from our friends at the Sierra Club-Detroit Chapter that the Low-Income Energy Efficiency Fund (LIEEF), a fund distributed across the state to help low-income people prevent heat shut offs, is in dire jeopardy!
The Michigan Court of Appeals recently decided that the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) does not have the authority to administer the fund as it has for more than a decade. The MPSC regulates the rates of natural gas, electricity and telephone utilities in Michigan; and is led by three commissioners appointed by the Governor.
Public comments on this ruling and the impacts it will have on Michigan communities are desperately needed by Monday, August 1, 2011 by 5 p.m. EST.
It is too late to mail your response to Lansing but you can give your comments by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments should reference Case No. U-16418 . You may also attach a document in Word or PDF format. Please note that all information you submit on this matter will become public information available on the MPSC’s website and is subject to disclosure.
You can also reviewed current public comments and documents on this at Case No. U-16418. The entire report on LIEFF is available at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mpsc/PSC_Report_on_Low_Income__Energy_Efficiency_Fund_1010_337742_7.pdf
Rhonda Anderson of the Sierra Club-Detroit Chapter tells us:
“…this money is set aside to use as an emergency fund for people [who] have had their utilities shut off. This [money] often is critical in that it assists them in having them turned back on. Utility shut off is one of the leading causes of homelessness. Considering the unemployment and poverty here in the City of Detroit by cutting this emergency fund out, it will mean so many thousands will be left in the cold and dark, maybe on the streets.”
Everyone know that Michigan is a snow state. In the middle of Winter, temperatures can reach into the single digits and below zero degrees. The blistering cold is especially dangerous for low-income families with young children and senior citizens. Yet, every year we know thousands of people across Michigan are at risk of freezing in their homes because they cannot afford or keep up with the high cost of heating bills from for-profit utility companies. Help us reverse this life-threatening decision against Michigan residents.