Summit County is again offering financial help for residents having trouble paying their electric bills.
FirstEnergy customers may qualify for $300 in bill credits through the county’s Fuel Fund Assistance Program.
The county, which has about $270,000 available, will host a “fuel fund assistance day” starting at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Job Center, 1040 E. Tallmadge Ave.
The county will provide help to the first 200 people who show up. (There will be other events if people arrive too late or cannot be there, and they can call 330-643-2068 for more details.)
FirstEnergy set aside $4 million a year from 2012 through 2014 for such programs as part of a 2010 rate settlement, the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel said.
Customers of FirstEnergy’s utility companies — Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating and Toledo Edison — may be eligible for the program.
To qualify, residents must have an active account; a pattern of “good faith” payments; and a total household income at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For example, the qualifying income level for a family of four is $46,100.
People must bring photo identification; social security card; most recent delinquent electric bill or termination notice; and proof of a good faith payment within the past 90 days to show to county workers.
Summit County has offered similar assistance the last three years through the Ohio Fuel Fund program. The county helped 2,770 customers and distributed $563,652 from 2009 to 2011.
“I don’t know what this year will bring, but my guess is we’ll still see a lot of people who are using social services for the first time,” said Connie Krauss, county director of community and economic development.
The maximum grant allowed per family in most cases is $300. But $500 will be given out in cases of extreme hardship. Credits may be used only for electrical usage and cannot exceed the amount due on the bill.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.