Understand Your Bill
Ontonagon County REA works hard to make sure our member-owners pay competitive rates. If you are curious about the charges on your electric bill, check out our interactive bill demo for explanations of charges such as:
- KWH Charge
- Service Charge
- Wholesale PWR ADJ
- Mich Energy Opt Charge
Automatic bill pay
You have the option to set-up auto pay on your account. To do so, please contact the office at 906-884-4151. To get everything activated a routing number, account number and voided check is necessary.
Billing Assistance Programs
The Winter Protection Plan protects eligible senior and low-income members from service shut-offs and high utility bill payments during the winter months (Nov. 1–Mar. 31). You may enroll between Nov. 1 and March 31. If you are an eligible low-income member, your electric service will remain on from Nov. 1 through Mar. 31, if you:
- pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month, and
- make equal monthly payments of 1/12 of any past due bills.
When the protection period ends (Mar. 31), from April 1 through Oct. 31, you must begin to pay the full monthly bill, plus part of the amount you owe from the winter months when you did not pay the full bill. Participation does not relieve members from the responsibility of paying for electricity, but does prevent shut-off during winter months. You qualify for the plan if you meet at least one of the following requirements:
- you are age 65 or older,
- you receive Department of Human Services cash assistance, including SSI,
- you receive Food Stamps,
- you receive Medicaid, or
- your household income is at or below the 150% of poverty level shown in the Income Guidelines chart (see chart below).
Senior citizen members (65 or older) who participate in the Winter Protection Plan are not required to make specific payments to ensure that their service will not be shut-off between Nov. 1 and March 31. However, seniors are encouraged to pay whatever they can during the winter so they will not have large, unmanageable bills when the protection ends.
Note: All members 65+ are eligible regardless of income. Members are responsible for all electricity used. At the end of the protection period, participants in the plan must make arrangements with the cooperative to pay any money owed before the next heating season.
Ontonagon County REA members can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2013 tax year if the member:
- meets the income guidelines listed below or
- qualifies based on alternate guidelines including household income, exemptions, and heating costs.
- additional exemptions are available for seniors, disabled claimants, or claimants with 50% or more of their income from unemployment compensation.
If you qualify, you may receive assistance to help pay for your winter heating bills. Forms are available mid-to-late January wherever tax forms are provided, or from the Michigan Dept.of Treasury (517-636-4486, or michigan.gov/treasury). The Home Heating Credit claim form must be filed with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury before Sept. 30, 2014.
The Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families who meet certain requirements and file a tax return. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income tax may qualify for the EIC, but must file a tax return to do so. If you are married, you must file jointly to qualify. To file, fill out Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EIC.
For tax year 2013, a taxpayer may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which the taxpayer is eligible, if any. The Michigan credit will assist working families struggling to keep up with rising costs. Watch for additional information in the 2013 Michigan income tax booklet or visit the website at www.michigan.gov/treasury.