Warm Up: Winter Heating Help Is Now Available

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) – This federally funded grant program is administered by the State of Ohio Department of Development through a network of local community action agencies.

Information about the HEAP program is available by calling 1-800-282-0880.  The program provides customers with help paying winter heating bills in two ways:

  • HEAP Cash Program – annual grant to help with heating costs
  • HEAP Emergency Program – provides emergency payments from October through April for qualified low-income customers to avoid a shutoff or to restore electric service.

Winter Reconnect Program – Now through April 15, 2010, customers who have been disconnected or advised of disconnection can make a one-time payment of $175 to restore electric service or avoid disconnection, regardless of the balance owed.

This option can be used only once during the winter season, and a payment plan for any past-due amount must be established and maintained.

Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) – This program helps qualifying customers with a household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level to pay past-due balances.

Customers in this program pay only a percentage of their household income and electric service is maintained as long as the required payments continue to be made.

Ohio Fuel Fund Program – This program, administered by various local agencies, is designed to help residential customers who have suffered a recent financial hardship and need temporary help to pay their electric bill. Program funding is provided by FirstEnergy.  Information is   available by calling 1-800-686-3421.

Extended Payment Plans – An extended payment plan is designed to help customers gradually pay off an accumulated balance by dividing the overdue balance into equal payments over a set period of time. Each month, customers on the plan pay their current amount plus the extended payment installment until the past-due balance is zero.

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.