WILLIAMSPORT, Md., Aug. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Residential and business customers of FirstEnergy Corp's (NYSE: FE) Potomac Edison electric utility who are having difficulty making ends meet are encouraged to contact their utility now to enroll in payment plans or bill assistance programs. While shutoffs for nonpayment are temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, establishing an affordable payment arrangement or obtaining assistance can help keep balances manageable during this difficult time.
"We understand many customers are in a difficult financial situation because of the pandemic," said Michelle Henry, vice president of customer service at FirstEnergy. "Customers who have lost income during this crisis may be eligible for assistance that was unavailable to them before to help address overdue balances."
Customer service representatives are available to assist residential customers with manageable payment arrangements and can provide customers with information on needs-based assistance programs. These programs may help customers avoid a large bill that would otherwise be due when the temporary suspension on shutoffs ends.
Potomac Edison customers in Maryland may be eligible for one or more of the following assistance programs:
Community Energy Fund is a needs-based program that helps qualifying residential customers who need emergency help paying their electric bill. The company's shareholders match donations from customers 50 cents on each dollar to fund this program. The distribution of funds is administered by local administering agencies in Potomac Edison's service territory, including:
Allegany County Department of Social Services at 301-784-7000
Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs (Frederick area) at 301-631-2670
Human Services Program of Carroll County, Inc., at 410-857-2999
Garrett Co. Community Action Committee, Inc., at 301-334-9431
Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) is a federally funded program administered by the Department of Human Services and the Office of Home Energy Programs that helps low-income electric customers pay their electric bills. To apply for benefits customers should call the Maryland Department of Human Services at 800-332-6347 or go to the Department of Human Services Application Process.
Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP)/Arrearage Retirement Assistance Program are state-funded programs administered by the Department of Human Services and the Office of Home Energy Programs that offer low-income electric customers financial assistance with their electric bills. Eligible customers who receive EUSP are placed on the budget billing plan. The Arrearage Retirement Assistance Program helps customers with large, past-due electric bills. If eligible, customers may receive forgiveness of up to $2,000 towards their past due bill. Customers may only receive an arrearage grant once every seven years, with certain exceptions. To apply for benefits and services customers should call the Maryland Department of Human Services at 800-332-6347 or go to Department of Human Services Application Process
Utility Service Protection Program is a federally sponsored program administered by the Department of Human Services and the Office of Home Energy Programs. This program is designed to protect eligible low-income families from utility disconnections. To apply for benefits and services, customers should call the Maryland Department of Human Services at 800-332-6347 or go to Department of Human Services Application Process
Average Payment Plan/Payment Arrangements divides a customer's annual electric bill into 12 monthly payments that helps level out bill payments and gives customers more control of their monthly household budget. Potomac Edison also can establish customer-specific payment arrangements that allows paying the account balance over an extended period of time. To apply or learn more about these company programs visit www.firstenergycorp.com or call 800-686-0011.
211 is a nationwide resource and information helpline that identifies locally available programs that may assist customers with utility bills or other needs. For more information dial 211, visit www.211.org or text your ZIP code to 898211.
Potomac Edison also has established a customer service team dedicated to assisting business and commercial customers. This team can provide helpful information on available assistance programs and offer payment arrangements if needed. To explore these programs, please contact your utility company and ask to speak with a member of the Small Business Team. Potomac Edison's customer service team can be reached at 1-800-736-3401.
FirstEnergy is 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. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.