Residential customers of Penelec, Penn Power, Met-Ed and West Penn Power, subsidiaries of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), who are having difficulty making ends meet are encouraged to contact their utility now to enroll in payment plans or to receive referrals for bill assistance programs.
“Many of our customers continue to face financial challenges brought on by the pandemic and ongoing economic uncertainty,” said Scott Wyman, president of Pennsylvania Operations for FirstEnergy. “With winter in full swing, I encourage customers who have fallen behind on their bills to contact us as soon as possible so that a member of our team can review their options with them.”
This winter has featured some nasty cold snaps – the most recent centering around the Christmas holiday when temperatures plummeted to well below zero when factoring in windchills. These wickedly cold temperatures coupled with families being at home for the holidays had furnaces on overtime, operating virtually nonstop for days. That will impact energy bills, including electric bills. Even if you have gas or another source of heat rather than electric, many furnaces use electric blower motors to circulate hot air throughout the home.
For some Met-Ed customers having a hard time making ends meet due to Covid impacts or a weakening economy, paying a larger than anticipated electric bill can be daunting. There is hope and help for everyone, however, to get some assistance or relief from bills through a variety of bill assistance programs. The first step is for our customers to contact us so we know they are experiencing difficulties and can work to match them up with the right assistance programs – many of which are income-based.
Even if a customer earns too much to qualify for financial assistance, we can negotiate a payment plan so they can pay part of their past due bills with current bills to catch up.
Programs customers may be eligible to participate in include:
- The Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program (PCAP): Helps residential customers maintain electric service through debt forgiveness and percentage of income payment plans. This program is administered through the Dollar Energy Fund. To apply, call 1-800-282-6816 or visit https://www.dollarenergy.org/myapp/.
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): This program is administered by PA Department of Human Services and can provide payment directly to the utility company to help with heating bills or to help maintain or restore service. The program opened November 1, 2022. To apply, call 1-866-857-7095 or visit www.compass.state.pa.us.
- The Dollar Energy Fund (DEF): This is an emergency hardship fund designed to help customers who have suffered a recent financial hardship. It can provide payment directly to the utility company to help maintain or restore service. The fund began accepting applications on October 1, 2022. To apply, visit www.dollarenergy.org/need-help/application-process or call 1-800-683-7036.
- 2-1-1 Helpline: This nationwide resource and information helpline identifies locally available programs that may assist customers with utility bills or other needs. For more information dial 2-1-1, text your ZIP code to 898211 or visit the 2-1-1 website.
- Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP): This program provides assistance to households that have experienced financial hardship and may be at risk for homelessness due to or during the pandemic. ERAP provides tenant households assistance with rental and utility costs to include arrearages and other related housing expenses. Visit www.compass.state.pa.us for more information.
- Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF): This program provides financial assistance to Pennsylvania homeowners who are facing financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It provides financial assistance to homeowners for qualified mortgage and housing-related expenses to address delinquency and avoid default, foreclosure or displacement. Visit www.phfa.org for more information.
- Met-Ed: 1-800-545-7741
- Penelec: 1-800-545-7741
- Penn Power: 1-800-720-3600
- West Penn Power: 1-800-686-0021
Met-Ed serves about 580,000 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.
Penelec serves approximately 585,000 customers within 17,600 square miles of northern and central Pennsylvania. Follow Penelec on Twitter @Penelec and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PenelecElectric.
Penn Power serves more than 160,000 customers in all or parts of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Lawrence and Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania. Follow Penn Power on Twitter @Penn_Power, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennPower, and online at www.pennpower.com.
West Penn Power serves approximately 725,000 customers in 24 counties in central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Follow West Penn Power on Twitter @W_Penn_Powerand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WestPennPower.