Consumers Energy Provides $3 Million to Nonprofit Groups to Help Michigan Residents Keep Lights on, Stay Warm

  Consumers Energy Provides $3 Million to Nonprofit Groups to Help Michigan
                     Residents Keep Lights on, Stay Warm

Includes Support for Innovative Pilot Program to Help Participants Manage

PR Newswire

JACKSON, Mich., Feb. 27, 2014

JACKSON, Mich., Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy is helping
Michigan residents stay warm this winter – and developing tools that should
let many manage their energy bills more effectively in the future – with $3
million in recent grants to three statewide nonprofit organizations.

TrueNorth Community Services, The Salvation Army and The Heat and Warmth Fund
(THAW) will distribute $2 million in immediate energy assistance that helps
income-qualified customers stay up to date with their energy bills.

Another $1 million will allow THAW to expand its social innovation
initiatives, including building upon a pilot program currently operating in
Flint that helps income-qualified residents reduce their energy usage and
better manage energy expenses.

Participants in the Clear Control program receive daily texts that detail
their household energy usage costs, make smaller, more frequent payments and
receive immediate financial assistance in certain circumstances. Customers
remain in the program as long as they stay current on their account.

"Consumers Energy strives to provide Michigan residents with the tools to
manage and reduce their monthly bills, and to provide the resources to make
sure people don't go without light and warmth," said Patti Poppe, vice
president of customer experience, rates and regulation.

"We are providing our nonprofit partners with financial resources to help
thousands of people in need this winter, and they are helping us build new
strategies that can empower many to manage their bills more effectively."

THAW's Clear Control pilot program began in October, and there have been
noticeable results with the first group of participants. Most have paid bills
on time, and participants have used less energy. Lessons learned from Clear
Control will be incorporated into the company's overall energy assistance
program design and development, including communities beyond Flint later this

"Our partnership with Consumers Energy looks to create sustainable solutions
for Michigan's low income energy consumers," said Susan Sherer, chief
executive officer of THAW. "Our unique corporate-nonprofit collaborative will
help foster self-sufficiency among vulnerable households statewide."

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of
CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.5 million
of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Nonprofit partners

THE HEAT AND WARMTH FUND (THAW) is an independent nonprofit (501(c)(3) agency
that provides emergency energy assistance to Michigan residents in need and
advocates for long-term energy solutions. THAW was established in 1985 to
improve the quality of life in Michigan and prevent human suffering by helping
low-income individuals facing an energy crisis.

THE SALVATION ARMY has supported those in need for more than 130 years in the
United States. For 31 years, Consumers Energy has partnered with The Salvation
Army to meet emergency needs through the PeopleCare program.

TRUENORTH COMMUNITY SERVICES provides client-centered services to 61 Michigan
counties by addressing rural poverty, building vibrant communities, and
ensuring youth thrive. TrueNorth partners with Consumers Energy to provide
vital energy assistance to rural Michigan residents.

For more information regarding Consumers Energy, go to: or join us on Facebook at

SOURCE Consumers Energy

Contact: Consumers Energy: Deb Dodd, 517-545-8711, or Dan Bishop,
517-788-2395; The Heat and Warmth Fund: Jill Brunett, 313-226-9465; The
Salvation Army: Roger Snider, 616-459-3433; TrueNorth Community Services:
Darci David, 231-924-0641, Ext. 111
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