Affordable Heating: Propane Cost Assistance, Payment Plans, and More

Posted: December 14, 2017

Propane has many significant advantages as a source of energy and heat for your home and appliances. It’s efficient, clean-burning, and safe. It’s versatile, with the ability to fuel just about any system inside or outside the home. Almost all propane used in the U.S. is produced here, too, which means switching to propane is good for the economy and supports America’s energy independence.

Gas Fire PlaceBut for many consumers, the biggest advantage might be affordability—propane delivers exceptional heating and energy for the price, and switching to propane helps most households reduce their annual energy costs even without changing their usage habits.

Even so, we understand it is possible that energy and heating costs can spike during the cold Michigan winters, and that sometimes unexpected needs arise. Fortunately, you have many options to help reduce your costs, make budgeting more manageable, or even apply for assistance payments.

Billing Options and Programs

Any Michigan resident knows that energy use doesn’t stay constant over the course of the year. If you simply pay for what you use as you use it, you might well end up owing hardly anything during the spring, summer, or fall—and more in the dead of winter. That can make budgeting challenging.

Fortunately, many propane companies and providers offer multiple billing options, plans, and programs to help you make it easier to plan for and budget your energy costs. A few examples:

  • Prepay plans. During the summer, customers anticipate winter usage needs and prepay for some (or all) of what they think they’ll need at a fixed price.
  • Equal installment plans. Your total propane costs for the entire year are projected, then paid for in equal monthly installments.
  • Price cap plan. Propane costs can fluctuate due to supply and demand. A price cap plan “locks in” a maximum price per gallon that will not be exceeded, regardless of what happens to the market rate.

Home Energy Assistance

The Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm is an extremely valuable resource for low- and fixed-income families. This unique organization brings together service providers, government bodies, nonprofits, and individuals committed to helping those in need. Among many other valuable services, the coalition helps families understand and apply for energy assistance programs, including:

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This federally funded program, administered by the State of Michigan, provides funds directly to low-income households that need help meeting their immediate home energy needs. It also coordinates with, and helps pay for, additional energy assistance programs. Nearly half a million Michigan households received LIHEAP benefits in 2016.
  • Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). This program provides federal funds to help income-qualified families improve the energy efficiency and weatherization of their homes. According to the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC), every dollar invested in weatherization returns $1.72 in energy savings. In cold-weather states like Michigan, it can save you up to 30% per year—every year—on your heating costs.
  • Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). This public act allocates up to $50 million in LIHEAP funds toward programs intended to help low-income families reach energy self-sufficiency.

Tax Incentives

You may be eligible for tax credits or exemptions related to your use of propane-fueled appliance, vehicles, or equipment. Tankless water heaters and other high-efficiency heating and cooling systems are often eligible for a tax credit to help offset the cost of installation. Businesses may also qualify for tax incentives and/or be exempted from emissions inspection requirements if they use dedicated alternative fuel vehicles.

The Michigan Propane Gas Association is fully dedicated to helping customers throughout the state enjoy the clean, safe, and affordable benefits of propane energy. For more information, please feel free to leave us a message, call (517) 487-2021, or contact your local propane provider directly.