GREENSBURG, Pa. – FirstEnergy Corp.’s (NYSE: FE) electric companies in Pennsylvania – West Penn Power, Penn Power, Penelec and Met-Ed – are urging residential customers experiencing financial hardship to contact their utility as soon as possible to establish an affordable payment arrangement or obtain assistance before the winter utility disconnection moratorium is lifted and shut-offs for nonpayment resume beginning April 1.
In a heartfelt message to customers, FirstEnergy employees are speaking out about personal experiences that fuel their passion to help customers who may find themselves seeking financial assistance for the first time. The video, “We’re Customers Just Like You” features four FirstEnergy Customer Service and Human Services employees who want customers to know they are dedicated to helping them get through challenging times.
“Many of our customers are unaware of the various utility bill assistance programs available to them, which often prevents them from taking advantage of income-based financial assistance for which they are eligible,” said Michelle Henry, senior vice president of Customer Experience at FirstEnergy. “Our dedicated Customer Service team is eager to walk customers through this process, and our hope is that customers will hear our employees’ stories and feel more comfortable reaching out to us for assistance.”
Programs in which FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania customers may be eligible to participate include:
• The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): A federally funded grant program administered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through its network of local county assistance offices. Eligible customers may receive crisis grants of up to $1200 to help with past-due electric bills and/or receive heating assistance to help reduce winter heating bills. Applications will be accepted until May 6 or until funds are exhausted. To apply, call LIHEAP at 877-395-8930 or visit www.compass.state.pa.us.
• The Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program (PCAP): Helps residential customers maintain electric service and/or eliminate their past-due balance. PCAP participants are automatically enrolled in the Equal Payment Plan (EPP) – a budget plan that allows customers to make consistent monthly payments. Customers receive monthly credits to reduce the EPP amount and/or forgiveness credits, which help eliminate the past-due balance at initial enrollment. While payment is not required to re-enroll, if you are a previous PCAP recipient, Dollar Energy Fund (the program administrator), can estimate the amount that would be due at re-enrollment. For enrollment information, call 888-282-6816, or to apply online, visit dollarenergy.org/myapp.
• Dollar Energy Fund: An emergency hardship fund designed to help residential customers restore or maintain electric service. Eligible customers may receive up to $500 while funds are available. Program funding is provided by FirstEnergy customers, company employees, FirstEnergy shareholders and other sources. The distribution of funds is administered by the Dollar Energy Fund. For information, call 888-282-6816 or visit www.dollarenergy.org.
• Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) and the PA Homeowners Assistance Fund (PA HAF): Assistance developed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, these programs provide financial assistance for housing-related expenses, including utilities, to assist Pennsylvania renters and homeowners facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For renters, visit www.compass.state.pa.us, and for homeowners, visit www.pahaf.org.
• 2-1-1 Helpline: A nationwide resource and information helpline that will identify programs in your area that may assist you or someone you know with utility bills or other needs. For more information, call 211, visit www.211.org or text your ZIP code to 898211.
Income eligible customers also can reduce their electric bills by making their homes more energy efficient by participating in the WARM Program. This program is available to homeowners and renters with landlord approval. WARM Program participants:
• Receive an in-home energy evaluation.
• Work with a trained energy educator to create an energy-savings plan.
• Can receive energy-saving light bulbs; caulking and weather-stripping installed in
their home; electric water heater inspections; and refrigerator/freezer testing and possible replacement.
The specific improvements that a customer is eligible to receive will be determined during the home energy evaluation. While no payment is required for these installations or services, there are household income requirements and electricity use requirements. For more information, customers can call Dollar Energy Fund at 888-282-6816, or apply online at www.energysavepa.com.
FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania residential customers also can manage their electric bills through the Equal Payment Plan (EPP). With EPP, customers can make consistent monthly payments to avoid seasonal highs and lows in their electric bills.
In addition to payment options, FirstEnergy offers a Medical Certification program. Disconnection of electric service resulting from overdue bills can be delayed up to 30 days if it is determined that the loss of electric service would be especially dangerous to the health of a permanent member of a customer’s household. An appropriate health care professional must complete and sign a Medical Certification Form for the eligible customer.
To apply or learn more about other utility bill assistance programs, visit www.firstenergycorp.com/billassist and click on “Search Assistance Programs.” Residents are also encouraged to contact their utility’s customer service team at 1-800-686-0021 (West Penn Power), 1-800-720-3600 (Penn Power) or 1-800-545-7741 (Penelec and Met-Ed), Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Met-Ed serves about 560,000 customers within 3,300 square miles of eastern and southeastern Pennsylvania. Follow Met-Ed on Twitter @Met_Ed and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MetEdElectric.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp