By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press

LANSING (AP) – Michigan utilities could add up to a $1 surcharge to electric bills to provide heating assistance to low-income customers under legislation headed to the governor’s desk.

The state Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to the bill on a 34-4 vote.

The measure is designed to find permanent funding for a low-income heating fund that was ended by a 2011 state appeals court ruling. There had been confusion over whether lawmakers intended to keep the fund after passing a 2008 energy law.

Utilities could opt out of charging the fee. But they would have an incentive to participate because they otherwise would be barred from shutting off service to delinquent accounts from November to April.

Senate Bill 284

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