Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is urging residential customers experiencing financial hardship to contact the company as soon as possible to establish an affordable payment arrangement or obtain assistance before the winter utility disconnection moratorium is lifted and shut-offs for nonpayment resume beginning March 15.
In a heartfelt message to customers, FirstEnergy employees are speaking out about personal experiences that fuel their passion to help customers who may find themselves seeking financial assistance for the first time. The video, “We’re Customers Just Like You” features four FirstEnergy Customer Service and Human Services employees who want customers to know they are dedicated to helping them get through challenging times.
“Many of our customers are unaware of the various utility bill assistance programs available to them, which often prevents them from taking advantage of income-based financial assistance for which they are eligible,” said Michelle Henry, senior vice president of Customer Experience at FirstEnergy. “Our dedicated Customer Service team is eager to walk customers through this process, and our hope is that customers will hear our employees’ stories and feel more comfortable reaching out to us for assistance.”
Assistance to qualifying JCP&L customers is available through the following programs:
- Lifeline: Offers a $225 annual benefit to persons who meet the PAAD eligibility requirements, or who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For additional information, call 800-792-9745.
- Universal Service Fund (USF): Helps eligible residential customers maintain electric service by offering a monthly bill credit – up to $180 per month for electric and gas combined. The USF Fresh Start program now provides forgiveness of overdue balances regardless of previous participation in the USF program. Apply for USF and LIHEAP online at www.nj.gov/dca/dcaid or call 800-510-3102 to have an application mailed to you or to find an application agency near you.
- The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP): Helps eligible residential customers with their heating and cooling bills and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the program. Apply for USF and LIHEAP online at www.nj.gov/dca/dcaid or call 800-510-3102 to have an application mailed to you or to find an application agency near you.
- The Weatherization Program: Includes the installation of home energy measures that can help reduce energy bills. Weatherization programs include Comfort Partners, sponsored by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. For additional information, visit www.njcleanenergy.com and click on “Residential,” or call 800-915-8309.
- Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE): Aids low- to moderate-income households who are experiencing economic hardship and struggling to pay their electric and natural gas bills. Customers with zero or low income are encouraged to apply for the Universal Service Fund (USF) or Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) in addition to the PAGE grant. For more information, visit www.NJPowerOn.org or call 732-982-8710.
- New Jersey SHARES: Offers an annual benefit of $700 for households who are having difficulty paying their electric bills. The fund helps those who need assistance because of an illness, job loss or other problem that has created a financial hardship but are not eligible for other income or age-based programs. Customers denied LIHEAP, USF and PAGE may be eligible for a NJ SHARES Smart Utility Assistance grant. For additional information, call 866-657-4273 or visit www.njshares.org.
- 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 2-1-1, text your ZIP code to 898211, or visit the 2-1-1 website.
JCP&L residential customers also can manage their electric bills through the Equal Payment Plan (EPP). With EPP, customers can make consistent monthly payments to avoid seasonal highs and lows in their electric bills.
In addition to payment options, FirstEnergy offers a Medical Certification program. Disconnection of electric service resulting from overdue bills can be delayed up to 90 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 and sign a Medical Certification Form for the eligible customer.
To apply or learn more about other JCP&L programs, visit firstenergycorp.com/billassist and click on “Search Assistance Programs” or call 1-800-662-3115 to speak with a customer service representative Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.