FAIRMONT, W.Va., Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With near-record snowfall and continuing low temperatures across the region this winter, Mon Power and Potomac Edison, FirstEnergy's (NYSE: FE) utilities in Maryland and West Virginia, remind customers of steps they can take to manage energy bills that may climb as cold weather lingers.
Across the area, deep snow has limited access to electric meters. Customers are encouraged to clear a path and free gates or other obstructions that might prevent a meter reader from gaining access. If a meter cannot be read and a customer would like to avoid an estimated bill, they can call their utility at the number below to report their meter reading:
Mon Power: 800-686-0022 Potomac Edison: 800-686-0011
Customers having difficulty with their bills due to the extended cold weather should contact their utility at the number above or visit www.firstenergycorp.com/payment-options.
Tips for saving energy through continued cold weather include:
- Make sure your home is properly insulated to preserve heat. Inspect doors and windows and apply caulk or weatherstripping where necessary to keep cold air out. Close drapes, blinds and garage doors to retain heat and keep cold air out.
- Keep extra blankets or sleeping bags for each person inside your home. Dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.
- Use a sturdy fireplace screen when using a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Never use a gas stove, charcoal grill or lantern intended for outdoor use inside your home as it could lead to a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
- Exercise caution with space heaters. Only use heaters designed for indoor use, and keep all heat sources at least three feet away from curtains, carpet or furniture that could catch on fire.
- Maintain a three-day supply of water and nonperishable food. Convenience foods that do not require cooking are good to have on hand.
- Avoid frozen pipes by opening faucets and maintaining a constant drip, or wrap pipes in insulation or layers of newspapers.
- Use care when burning candles, especially around children or pets; open flames are a dangerous fire hazard.
- Charge electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablet computers.
- Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy in the event a power interruption occurs.
- Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage in the event of a power outage. Ensure the proper generator is selected and installed by a qualified electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers.
If an outage, customers should call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com via smartphone. In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility or their local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity.
FirstEnergy customers also can use a new free smartphone app to report outages and access important information and services related to their electric accounts. The app is available for Apple® iPhone® and Android™ smartphones. Customers can use the keyword "FirstEnergy" to locate the apps in the online store.
In addition, customers can use FirstEnergy's text messaging service to report outages and receive updates on reported outages. Text REG to 544487 (LIGHTS) to get started.
Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties. Potomac Edison serves about 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 132,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to 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.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.