Disconnection notices going out: Assistance is available for those behind on energy bills

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is reminding residents that help is available if they've fallen behind on their energy bills because We Energies officials on Monday, March 27th began sending disconnection notices for those behind on bill payments.

According to a release from Milwaukee County officials, there is an additional $1 million available for qualified Milwaukee County residents who apply for energy assistance during the month of March, which is quickly drawing to a close.

“Starting on March 27th, We Energies will begin to send disconnection notices for those behind in bill payments,” said DHHS Director Héctor Colón in the statement. “For the third consecutive year, we are able to provide additional funding to help our residents in need of some extra support. Customers who are setting up payment plans with We Energies through the end of this month can benefit from proactive crisis assistance, a $300 incentive towards establishing a payment plan.”

According to Milwaukee County officials, this benefit is the only initiative that can replace a customer’s down payment. It will serve those who are setting up payment plans with We Energies, current We Energies customers and eligible applicants to the Energy Assistance program.

The benefit will only be available through March 31st, 2017.

“We have currently served more than 49,000 households this year with the Energy Assistance program,” County Executive Chris Abele said in the statement. “That’s 4,000 more households than last year at this time. Our goal is to serve over 70,000 households this year – to help them stay warm, keep their lights on and avoid an energy crisis. We are on track to meet, and even exceed this goal.”

To qualify for proactive crisis assistance, customers must have made a minimum of two separate monthly payments since September 1st, 2016 and must have a current 2016-17 energy application.

Milwaukee County officials said in the statement this financial incentive aims to assist Milwaukee residents in setting up a payment plan and eliminate the threat of disconnection in summer months. This offer will not be available to oil, propane or heat-included customers.

This year, qualified residents do not need to wait in line to apply. They can schedule an appointment to apply at a time convenient for them any time before May 15th, 2017.

Here's what you should know:

    The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as WHEAP is a state program that is
    administered in Milwaukee County by DHHS. It provides a one-time payment for eligible residents,
    covering a portion of their energy costs.

    For more information about the program and eligibility, visit www.energyassistancemke.org.