FirstEnergy's Commitment to You
We remain focused on keeping the lights on for our customers as the nation addresses the coronavirus health emergency. As states issue stay-at-home orders and businesses shut down, we take our responsibility to maintain and operate critical infrastructure seriously. We are taking a well-informed and measured response that protects our employees and the public while delivering safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity.
We understand the pandemic has created additional challenges for families. On March 13, we announced we were suspending all service shutoffs for past-due accounts. If your service was disconnected for nonpayment prior to this date, please contact us so that we can work with you to ensure your restoration is conducted safely.
This page will be updated with new information as the situation develops.
March 17, 2020
To Our Customers:
The coronavirus health emergency is likely to disrupt our daily lives for some time to come. FirstEnergy is prepared to face this crisis, and keep power flowing to you around the clock.
Our first priority, as always, is the safety of our workers and customers. We are closely monitoring developments related to this pandemic through our internal medical consultants as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization.
Our crews are focused on serving you while putting appropriate protective measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Keep in mind our line workers and field personnel perform almost all of their work outside of homes and businesses, with minimal interaction with customers or the general public. When such interactions are required, appropriate preventive measures like social distancing will be in place to help protect all parties.
We know our customers’ normal routines may be disrupted during this time, from altered work and school arrangements to cancelled events and travel plans. To help customers facing financial difficulties, we have suspended all service shutoffs for past-due accounts until further notice.
If you have trouble paying your bill, we are willing to work with you. Various payment options are available, including:
- Budget billing, a program that averages usage over 12 months to offer the same bill amount each month.
- Energy assistance programs or other payment arrangements for eligible customers, based on their situation and state of residence.
Unfortunately, this crisis also provides an opportunity for scammers, who prey on fears to achieve their illegal gains. Please remain alert to interactions that seem improper, including calls demanding payment to avoid immediate shutoff. If you sense something isn’t right, please call your utility customer service number. You can also find information about common scams on our Scam Information page.
This pandemic is unfolding, with new information available at regular intervals. Please remain informed and keep yourself and your family safe during this time. We stand ready to assist you as we move through this situation together, and we’re committed to keeping the lights on for you.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Is my electric service reliability at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Absolutely not. FirstEnergy operates a critical part of our country’s infrastructure and is committed to keeping the lights on as the nation addresses the coronavirus challenge. We are taking a well-informed and measured response that protects our employees and the general public while also providing the power our customers need all day, every day.
To ensure the lights remain on for all our customers, FirstEnergy’s essential work to maintain the electric system will continue with appropriate protective measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
How is FirstEnergy supporting and protecting employees during the coronavirus health emergency?
Safety is a core value at FirstEnergy, and we are taking extensive steps to protect our employees, including:
- Enhancing workplace flexibility to include working from home when possible and more flexible hours
- Performing enhanced environmental cleaning at company facilities, with extra focus on commonly touched surfaces
- Providing sanitizing equipment for equipment and vehicle cleaning
- Prohibiting visits to FirstEnergy locations from non-essential personnel
- Relocating job briefs and reporting locations to spaces conducive to social distancing
- Splitting into smaller work units to support distance between employees
- Offering medical personnel for employees who have questions or concerns about their health
Is it safe for a FirstEnergy employee to work at my home or business?
Our line workers and field personnel perform almost all of their work outside of homes and businesses with little to no need to interact with occupants. When interactions with our personnel are required, appropriate preventive measures like social distancing will be in place to protect your personal health.
In states where FirstEnergy does not have smart meters, reading meters outside of homes helps ensure that monthly bills are accurate. This also prevents a prolonged period of estimated bills, as residential electric use is expected to spike for the foreseeable future as customers spend time in their homes around the clock.
Meter reading that requires access into homes or interaction with home owners has been suspended, and our meter readers will maintain safe social distancing from customers and others while working.
Why are meter readers considered essential employees?
Many customers are spending more time in their homes and increasing their energy consumption, which can lead to higher-than-usual electric bills. By continuing to read meters and provide accurate billing information in a safe manner, we can continue to keep customers informed of their energy use. A prolonged period of estimated bills may result in an unusually high bill when the meter is read again.
In the event a customer receives an estimated bill, they have the option to submit a meter reading by logging into their online account or by calling a customer service representative to receive an adjustment. Any variation between the estimated and actual usage will be adjusted on a customer’s bill with the next actual meter reading.
Why are you continuing tree-trimming work?
Trees are a leading cause of electrical power outages. To help ensure continued reliable and safe electric service, FirstEnergy's Vegetation Management Program works to keep our transmission and distribution rights-of-way free of incompatible trees and other vegetation. This regular tree maintenance is an essential part of our commitment to keeping the lights on.
To safeguard the health and safety of FirstEnergy employees, contractors and our six million customers, we have implemented extensive precautions aligned with our medical consultants, the CDC, NIH and WHO. These measures include instructions to maintain appropriate social distance. We ask the public to also extend that coutesy to our workers.
Has the company suspended shutoffs during coronavirus health emergency?
To protect customers from the challenges of living without electricity and to limit interactions between our employees and the general public, effective March 13, all FirstEnergy operating companies have discontinued service shutoffs for past-due customers..
We will NOT resume normal collections or shut-off activity until at least July 1, 2020 and will comply with any state orders to postpone these activities as long as necessary. However, customers who fall behind on their bills may still receive a service shutoff notice. However, this documentation helps ensure customers know the status of their account and is often required as proof of situation by agencies who provide financial support to assist with bills.
We are also encouraging any customers who are or have been without power to contact us. Customers whose service was disconnected for nonpayment prior to that date can be reconnected upon request. We are not charging reconnection fees for customers at this time.
Customers who are having difficulty paying their bills should call us to arrange an affordable payment plan. These arrangements will not interfere with any future payment options customers may choose. We encourage all customers with overdue balances who are unable to reach a payment arrangement to pay what they can to keep their total balance as manageable as possible. For information about assistance programs for which residential customers may be eligible, please go to Search Assistance Programs.
Why isn’t the company just automatically turning power back on for customers who were shut off before March 13?
It is especially important that customers contact us if a service restoration is required. Automatic restorations can pose a safety hazard. For example, if an iron or stove was on when the power was turned off, it could come back on when power is restored, creating a safety issue in the home. We will work with customers to ensure restoration is conducted safely.
What if I experience financial hardships due to the coronavirus health emergency?
We understand that customers may be facing concerns and hardships due to the many business shutdowns and interruptions underway to help limit spread of COVID-19. We will work with customers on various payment options if they are having trouble paying their electric bills. Options include:
- Enrolling in budget billing, a program that averages usage over 12 months to offer the same bill amount each month.
- Energy assistance programs for eligible customers, based on their situation and state of residence. Click here for more information about assistance programs.
- Arranging an affordable payment plan, which will not interfere with any future payment options customers may choose. Those who are unable to reach a payment arrangements are encouraged to pay what they can to keep their total balance as manageable as possible.
Customers with concerns are encouraged to call their electric company:
The Illuminating Company
West Penn Power
Jersey Central Power & Light
Are there any options for small business owners who need financial assistance?
Congress passed the CARES Act as part of the federal stimulus package, which is intended to assist qualifying business owners with utility bills and other expenses. The CARES Act provides several options for qualifying businesses including loans, grants and educational resources. Your business may qualify for one or more of these options. For information on available programs, how to apply, and to see if you qualify, please visit the Small Business Administration website at SBA.gov, or you can contact your lender, financial advisor, or your local Small Business Administration office.
For customers in Ohio, the state announced the formation of the Ohio Office of Small Business Relief. The office will help businesses navigate all of the relief programs, regulatory reforms and more that have been established as a result of the pandemic. See https://businesshelp.ohio.gov/