FirstEnergy Corp., Akron, Ohio, has added MasterCard credit and debit cards to its list of online payment options so customers can automatically pay their monthly electric bills.

This convenient offering, available to customers of FirstEnergy's seven electric utility operating companies -- Ohio Edison, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison in Ohio; Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric and Pennsylvania Power in Pennsylvania; and Jersey Central Power and Light in New Jersey -- lets customers track payments easily via their monthly credit or debit card statement and provides them the security of knowing they are protected against fraud by MasterCard's Zero Liability policy. Customers also may earn rewards depending on their specific card program.

"Our online credit and debit card payment options give our customers another convenient way to manage their bills with all the protections and benefits of using a payment card," said Tom Clark, vice president of Customer Service & Service Area Development for FirstEnergy. "We are pleased to be able to expand this popular program to MasterCard users."

Customers enrolled in FirstEnergy's electronic billing and payment program can participate in this service. Enrollment in the electronic billing program can be completed by going to the FirstEnergy Web site at http://www.firstenergycorp.com/.

"The cost of paper handling combined with increased consumer preference for electronic payment methods is making card acceptance an attractive proposition within the utility segment," said Steve Carnevale, vice president Service Industries, MasterCard Worldwide. "We've worked to establish a program that meets the unique needs of this industry and helps utility service providers like FirstEnergy bring added choice and conveniences to their customers while also driving greater efficiencies and reducing costs."