February is well underway, bringing with it some of winter’s toughest conditions. FirstEnergy’s utilities remind customers of some of the things they can do to weather the season safely while saving on their electric bill.
Across the company’s Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland service areas, snow has the potential to limit access to electric meters. Customers are encouraged to clear a path and free gates or other obstructions that might prevent a meter reader from gaining access. Customers can provide their meter reading information over the phone or submit it online if their meters cannot be read due to adverse weather conditions and avoid an estimated bill.
Additionally, customers having difficulty paying their electric bills due to high usage from the cold weather should contact their utility to review payment options, or visit www.firstenergycorp.com/payment-options.
Some common sense tips for getting through the winter include:
Make sure your home is properly insulated to preserve heat. Inspect doors and windows and apply caulk or weather stripping where necessary to keep cold air out. Close drapes, blinds and garage doors to retain heat.
Consider a furnace inspection and tune-up by a trained technician.
Use a sturdy fireplace screen when using a fireplace or wood-burning stove to help prevent a house fire.
Never use a gas stove, charcoal grill or lantern intended for outdoor use inside your home as it could lead to a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
Only use space heaters designed for indoor use, and keep all heat sources at least three feet away from curtains, carpet or furniture that could catch on fire.
Avoid frozen pipes by opening faucets and maintaining a constant drip, or wrap pipes in insulation or layers of newspaper.
Use care when burning candles, especially around children or pets; burning candles can present a fire hazard.
Charge electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablet computers, and keep car charging cords for those devices handy in case of a power outage.
Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries in the event a power interruption occurs.
Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage. Ensure the proper generator is selected and installed by a qualified electrician. When operating a generator, power coming into the home must be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, posing a danger to utility workers.
If an outage occurs as a result of the weather, customers are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the “Report Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com. Customers should immediately report any downed wires to their utility or their local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity. Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled in trees or other debris.