AKRON, Ohio: Financial assistance programs continue to be available for FirstEnergy customers in Ohio who need help with winter heating bills. FirstEnergy’s Ohio utilities include Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison.
Assistance to qualifying customers is available through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus, the $175 Winter Reconnection Option and Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy.
HEAP is a federally-funded grant program administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency through a network of local community action agencies. HEAP provides eligible customers help with paying winter heating bills. For information about how to apply call 800-282-0880 or go to www.development.ohio.gov. The program provides customers with help paying winter heating bills in two ways:
HEAP Cash Program – annual grant to help with heating bills
HEAP Emergency Program – provides emergency payments until March 31 to avoid shut off or restore electric service. Can be used only once per heating season.
Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) is a year-round program that helps qualifying customers with a household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level manage their energy bills. Payments are based on a percentage of household income and are consistent year-round. For information call 800-282-0880.
The $175 Winter Reconnect Option is based on an annual order issued by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that allows residential customers who are disconnected or being threatened with disconnection the opportunity to pay a designated amount to have their service restored or maintained. The option may be used once during each heating season, which runs from mid-October through mid-April. Residential customers are required to pay no more than $175 to maintain service under the reconnection order. If the customer’s service has already been disconnected, the customer must pay the $175 and possibly a reconnection fee. There is no income eligibility requirement to use the Winter Reconnect Option. For information call the FirstEnergy Contact Center at 800-589-3101.
The Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy grant is a company-funded program that provides a one-time annual benefit to an eligible customer’s electric account. The grant can only be used for electric usage, security deposits and reconnection charges. For information call 800-282-0880.
Specific customer assistance programs also are available for each utility:
The Illuminating Company
The Ohio Fuel Fund grant is a company-funded program that provides a one-time annual benefit to an eligible customer’s electric account. The grant can only be used for electric usage, security deposits and reconnection charges. Customers can apply at the Cleveland Housing Network at the corner of E. 30th Street and Payne Avenue in Cleveland or call 216-574-7100, or contact the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland at 1801 Superior Avenue in Cleveland or call 216-518-4014.
The CEI Co-Op Fuel Fund is an emergency hardship fund designed to help residential customers who have suffered a recent financial hardship and need temporary help in paying their electric bill. The program funding is provided by The Illuminating Company customers and employees. Customers can apply at the Cleveland Salvation Army or call 216-861-8185.
Ohio Edison Project Reach is an emergency hardship fund designed to help residential customers who have suffered a recent financial hardship and need temporary help in paying their electric bill. The program funding is provided by Ohio Edison customers and employees and the distribution of funds is administered by Salvation Army offices located throughout Ohio Edison’s service area. To find an agency visit www.firstenergycorp.com/ReachAgencies.
Toledo Edison Neighbors Helping Neighbors is an emergency hardship fund designed to help residential customers who have suffered a recent financial hardship and need temporary help in paying their electric bill. The program funding is provided by Toledo Edison customers and employees. Customers can apply at the Toledo Salvation Army or call 419-241-3549.
FirstEnergy Ohio utility residential customers also can manage their electric bills through the FirstEnergy Equal Payment Plan (EPP). With EPP, customers can make consistent monthly payments to avoid seasonal highs and lows in their electric bills. To apply or learn more about other company programs, visit www.firstenergycorp.com or call 800-589-3101.
In addition to the payment options, FirstEnergy offers a Medical Certification program. Disconnection of electric service resulting from overdue bills can be delayed up to 30 days if it is determined that the loss of electric service would be especially dangerous to the health of a permanent member of a customer’s household. An appropriate health care professional must complete a Medical Certification Form describing the resident’s medical condition. The Medical Certification process also can be used to restore electric service after a customer has been disconnected.
FirstEnergy also offers a program called Third Party Notification where a relative, friend, clergy, or social service agency can be notified along with the customer if electric service is about to be disconnected. The third party is not obligated to pay the overdue bills, but can help make payment arrangements for the customer who might have difficulty paying their bill.