11/21/2011 11:51 am ET Updated Nov 21, 2011

DTE Customer Assistance Day Brings Struggling Families To Cobo Hall

As winter approaches, DTE Energy is welcoming customers who need financial assistance with their heating bills to Cobo Hall on Monday.

Customers can meet with The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) and Department of Human Services representatives to see if they qualify and apply for payment assistance, set up payment plans and answer questions about their bills.

DTE's Customer Assistance Day is the final event in the company's Week of Warmth, a collaboration with THAW that raised money to help people who are suffering from cuts to state and federal assistance programs.

Last year, 615,000 Michigan households received federal utility assistance, but this year, the utility assistance program offered by the Michigan Public Service Commission was cut after the state Court of Appeals ruled that the agency does not have the legal authority to provide the program.

"The social safety net that keeps people who can’t afford utility bills from being frozen out of their homes is weakening to a critical level," officials with the Week of Warmth campaign said, according to the Free Press.

The event at Cobo Hall is free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customers must bring their DTE energy bill and proof of income.