JCP&L Encourages Customers to Arrange Payment Plans and Bill Assistance to Avoid Unmanageable BalancesPrograms Can Help Alleviate Growing Balances for Customers Having Financial Difficulty Due to the Pandemic
MORRISTOWN, N.J., Aug. 17, 2020 -- Residential and business customers of Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), who are having difficulty making ends meet are encouraged to contact their utility now to enroll in payment plans or bill assistance programs. While shut-offs 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."
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 include forgiveness of all or part of a customer's overdue balance, helping them to avoid a large bill that would otherwise be due when the temporary suspension on shutoffs ends.
Customers of JCP&L may be eligible for one or more of the following programs:
- Universal Service Fund Programs (USF): USF helps make energy bills more affordable by offering eligible customers a monthly bill credit. This credit is based on household income and energy burden. USF may also offer utility account debt forgiveness for first-time applicants. USF is a statewide program administered by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. To apply call 2-1-1 or visit the DCAid screening tool.
- Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP/HEAP): The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps income-eligible residents with their heating and cooling bills and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the Home Energy Assistance Program. To apply call 2-1-1 or visit the DCAid screening tool.
- Lifeline: Lifeline provides funding for utility bills (electric and natural gas) for qualifying disabled persons and senior citizens. Applications must be made annually to receive the benefit. The Lifeline benefit applies only to the customer's primary residence and must be in the customer's or the customer's spouse's name. To apply call 609-588-7182 or visit the Lifeline Website.
- Payment Assistance for Gas & Electric (PAGE): PAGE helps low- to moderate-income customers in New Jersey who are struggling to pay their electric and natural gas bills. The PAGE energy assistance program benefits homeowners and renters who have not received help from the Universal Service Fund in the past 6 months or from the Home Energy Assistance Program within the last heating season. The household must also have a documented notice of overdue payment for gas and/or electric service and have a past history of making regular payments toward their utility bills. To apply call 732-982-8710 or visit NJPowerOn Website.
- Comfort Partners Programs: The Comfort Partners Program is a free energy savings and education program for income eligible customers. The program helps customers save energy and money by reducing their electric bills by installing energy conservation measures in the home and by educating family members on their energy and conservation choices. Participation is prioritized based on the customer's energy consumption. There are household income requirements and other program qualifications. To apply call 800-915-8309 or visit the Comfort Partner Webpage.
- 2-1-1 Helpline: This nationwide resource and information helpline identifies locally available programs that may assist customers with utility bills or other needs. For more information dial 211, text your ZIP code to 898211 or visit the 211 Website.
Additional program information is available at firstenergycorp.com/billassist.
JCP&L 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. JCP&L's customer service number is 1-800-962-0383.
JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren. Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.
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 online at www.firstenergycorp.com. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp.
CONTACT: Cliff Cole, (973) 401-8347