Potomac Edison says it won’t cut off power unnecessarily when it’s extremely cold.
Williamsport, Md (KM) The cold weather is expected to be here for a few months, and that means people using more energy to keep their homes warm, especially if they use electric heat. If you are having difficulty heating your home and fearful of having your power shut off, Potomac Edison reminds you there programs to help keep the electricity on.
To begin with, Potomac Edison says there is a process it follows when it come to shutting off the power to customers who are behind in their bills. But spokesman Jeff Straight says the company won’t turn off the electricity when it’s extremely cold outside. “Depending on the weather, if it’s going to below freezing, we make sure we don’t turn people off unnecessarily in the winter months,” he said.
There’s also the Community Emergency Fund. “It’s a needs based program and basically our company matches any donation given to that fund 50-cents to each dollar,” says Straight. “This will help customers who need help with their bill.”
In Frederick County, it’s administered by the Religious Coalition which can be reached by calling 301-631-2670. The Community Emergency Fund is administered in Carroll County by the Human Services Program. Its number is 410-857-2999. The Allegany County Department of Social Services administered the program in its county. The number is 301-784-7000. For those who live in Garrett County, the Garrett County Action Committee administers the program in far western Maryland. Call 301–344-9431 for more information.
Another program is The Maryland Energy Assistance Program which is a federally funded program administered by the Maryland Department of Human Services and the Office of Home Energy Program. Their programs can help low income electric customers with their bills. It also promotes energy conservation , customer financial responsibility and energy independence. To apply for benefits and services, go on line to https://myhrbenfits.dhr.state.md.us, or call 1-800-332-6347.
There’s also the Electric Universal Service Program. It’s also run by the Maryland Department of Human Services and the Office of Home Energy Programs. It helps customers to pay up on arrears, and weatherization. Applications for benefits can be made at https://mydrhbenefits.drh.state.md.gov. Residents can also call 1-800-332-6347.
The Utility Services Protection Program provides customers with certain protections during the heating season. It too can be reached by going on line to https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.gov, or by calling 1-800-332-6347.
Straight says Potomac Edison offers a Medical Certification program. “That doesn’t necessarily help you pay any of your bills. But it what it can do is prevent any kind of shutoff,” he says. “We need an appropriate health care professional. They need to complete and sign a medical certification form indicating their electric service is needed for life support equipment.”
For information on this program, call 1-800-686-0011, or go on line to www.firstenergycorp.com/billassist.. First Energy is the parent company of Potomac Edison.
Straight urges customers not to ignore any large electric bill they receive; and they can’t pay, and don’t panic. “There is help available. They just need to be willing to ask for it,” he says.
By Kevin McManus