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Consumers Energy says it will cover millions in overdue Michigan utility bills

Consumers Energy says it will help thousands of northern Michigan residents with their energy bills. The company is pledging $12 million to help state residents and small business owners hit hard by the pandemic.

The utility says for the first time it’s offering assistance to families at most income levels who struggle to pay their bills. They say 40,000 customers in Michigan owe money or are in crisis.

Consumers says it will try to help at least 25,000 households with $500 credits for past due bills. It will also assist 1,000 or more small businesses with up to $5,000 in credits.

President and CEO Patti Poppe says some people who have never missed a bill before are now having a hard time.

“For those people who are asking for help for the first time please don’t be afraid, call us,” Poppe says. “People who were never qualified for assistance before are eligible, as well as businesses are eligible.”

Consumers Energy provides natural gas and electricity to 293,000 customers in northern lower Michigan.

The company says people can find out if they’re eligible for the relief by dialling 211.

Taylor Wizner covers heath, tourism and other news for Interlochen Public Radio.