YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With unemployment rates skyrocketing, essential companies are helping their customers.
First Energy is helping by offering some financial relief. For the duration of the pandemic, the utility will not shut off anyone’s service.
Shutfoff notices may still be mailed if payments aren’t made, but your power won’t be turned off.
First Energy says electricity is vital during these times especially since many people have nowhere to go but home.
The utility has also helped local food banks with various donations across the Valley.
“We realize that families are faced with financial hardships, and we are really relying on the extra help from their food banks. A lot of these families that have never needed to reach out for help before and our goal is just to help these communities move forward,” said Lauren Siburkis, spokesperson for First Energy.
Customers will still be responsible or their entire bill when the pandemic ends.
Siburkis encourages struggling customers to enroll in budget billing and energy assistance programs.
Budget billing averages out usage over 12 months and divides that amount into 12 monthly payments.
The energy assistance program offers help with payments and other arrangements based on the financial situations the household and state of residence.
“Those balances are not going to go away. Once this health emergency is over, you are still going to owe the balance on you account. That’s why we really encourage our customers to reach out to us now, and let’s take care of those bills so when the health emergency is over, you’re not in a position where you are not able to pay that bill,” Siburkis said.
First Energy is asking you to avoid any of their workers if they are out on a call or if you see them working on a job. They want to practice social distancing as well because of how essential their jobs are.
For more information about financial assistance programs call 1-800-633-4766.