Higher utility bills for many Michigan residents - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Higher utility bills for many Michigan residents

LENAWEE COUNTY, MI (Toledo News Now) -

Higher utility bills are on the way up for many Michigan residents as part of the states effort to raise money for its "Low Income Energy Assistance Fund".

It's all part of a new initiative by the Michigan Public Service Commission. They're asking utility companies to collect an extra 99 cents every month from their customers. That money will then be used to help others pay their bill and avoid a shutoff.

"If I needed help, I'd want somebody to help me. I wouldn't want my stuff shut off for the winter, so I think it's a good idea," said Michigan resident Sheila Double.

But not everyone feels that way.

"I think that we should not have to pay for others bills," said Michigan resident Darlene Tax. "There's too many people living off the system as it is."

Some say they're just upset because the fee is required, and there's no opt-out option for customers.

"People should have a choice to be able to donate to whatever funds they feel is necessary," said Michigan resident Michelle. "I don't think it should just be something they take out and expect you to pay."

The program allows utility companies as a whole to opt out of the program, but if they choose to do so , they will not be allowed to cut off power between November and April to customers who don't pay their bills.

Representatives at Consumers Energy say they plan to participate, and their customers can expect to see the fee starting in September.

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