Outreach Campaign Targets Struggling Customers

October 26, 2020

Behind on your electric bills? We can help.That’s the message of FirstEnergy’s newest advertising campaign – already launched for Potomac Edison customers in Maryland on Oct. 12 – and extending soon to our other operating companies in Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The campaign, which uses a mix of billboard, broadcast, social, digital and radio ads to spread its message, was initially suggested by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) as a way to heighten customer awareness of impending shutoffs and emphasize actions customers can take to ensure their service continues uninterrupted.

“Many people who have never been behind on their bills before are now finding themselves with overdue payments. They aren’t aware of all the options and support available, so these ads aim to communicate our assistance plans in an accessible, easy to understand way – with a strong call to action,” said Susan Samuelson, senior Advertising & Production consultant, who led FirstEnergy’s campaign creative and messaging effort.

Our company joins a number of other utilities that are launching similar campaigns to let customers know billing assistance is available during the COVID-19 emergency.​​​

In late September, the Maryland PSC decided customers in the state having payment issues should contact their utilities to set up a payment plan and avoid service disconnection. The ad campaigns help customers get the process started, prompting them to review available assistance options, such as requesting more time to pay and setting up alternate payment arrangements.

For instance, Maryland customers can enroll in a plan that gives them 12 months to pay without requiring any kind of down payment or security deposit.

“The ads stress the importance of reaching out to us, so we understand why payment is delinquent, set up reasonable payment plans for customers and refer them to agencies offering additional assistance,” explained Michelle Henry, vice president, Customer Service. “Only those customers who avoid taking action will be in danger of losing service.”

The Maryland campaign is set to run through November, with our other operating company campaigns concluding in December.​