We strive to meet the electricity needs of our socially, economically and culturally diverse customer base. To do this, FirstEnergy offers several payment assistance and emergency support programs to help customers.
Customer assistance programs provide credits to reduce monthly bills based on customers’ income and annual energy burden. These programs also connect customers to other energy assistance resources and offer debt forgiveness, which reduces arrearage balances incrementally as monthly bills are paid.
Energy assistance grant programs provide emergency assistance that helps income-eligible customers maintain or restore service when disconnection is imminent or has already occurred. Application periods for these programs differ by state, but typically target energy-intensive seasons.
Hardship funds help customers maintain or restore service when disconnection is imminent or has already occurred. These programs are administered by non-profit agencies, and applications are open year-round or until funds are depleted. Funds are intended as a last resort for customers who have exhausted resources from other energy affordability programs.
The Gatekeeper Program provides resources to field personnel that encounter customers who are confused or disoriented; express difficulty paying bills; are having trouble seeing, speaking, hearing or moving; or are living in conditions that indicate there is a problem.
The Pennsylvania Customer Assistance and Referral Evaluation Services (CARES) Program provides short-term aid to customers who experience a temporary hardship, such as the loss of a family member, job instability or injury. CARES representatives assist customers with bill arrangements and energy assistance and provide the appropriate referrals for customers’ needs.
For income-qualified customers, FirstEnergy has targeted energy efficiency programs to reduce energy usage or offset the costs of energy improvements. These programs often work in conjunction with other utilities or local, state or federal funds and programs to maximize customer benefits.
Weatherization and Comprehensive Energy Audit Programs: Customers’ homes are evaluated to address energy-saving lighting upgrades; building envelope improvements such as the addition of insulation; and electric water heating and major appliance efficiency improvements.
Behavioral Programs: Our Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland utilities deliver energy usage reports to nearly 100,000 income-qualified customers each year. These reports highlight energy usage trends and offer tips on how to save energy and take advantage of our energy efficiency opportunities.
Enhanced Incentives: In certain jurisdictions, FirstEnergy efficiency programs offer enhanced incentives to income-qualified customers to offset the costs of energy efficiency upgrades.
Multifamily Initiatives: We improve the efficiencies of income-qualified tenants’ units and buildings, either directly through our efficiency programs or in coordination with partners and agencies.
Light Bulb Distribution: In 2018, Potomac Edison launched a program with the Maryland Food Bank (Western Branch) to distribute LED bulbs and provide customers with information on home energy savings opportunities and income-qualified efficiency programs.