FirstEnergy Corp. (Akron, Ohio) has introduced a new online payment option that enables customers to automatically pay their monthly electric bills with their Visa credit or check cards. With this convenient, fee-free program, customers can easily track payments on their monthly Visa card statements and may be able to earn reward points based on their specific card program. Customers also are protected against fraud with Visa’s zero liability policy.

The Visa payment option is 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 & Light in New Jersey. These companies serve 4.5 million customers and, as a group, comprise the largest electric utility system to offer the Visa payment option.

"This program offers a convenient payment option for our customers," said Tom Clark, vice president of Customer Service & Service Area Development for FirstEnergy. "We are pleased to be able to respond to our customers’ interest in paying their electric bills this way."

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

"The popularity of electronic payments is growing exponentially," said Jim Eitler, vice president, Merchant Relations, Visa USA. "Consumers are demanding the security, convenience, and flexibility of card payments. Visa has created a program tailored to utilities’ needs that will help them meet this demand while improving customer service, saving money, and increasing revenue."

FirstEnergy offers a variety of payment options in addition to the new Visa bill payment program, including online bill payment, mailing a check or money order, automatic bank deduction, or in person at various authorized agents such as supermarkets or drug stores. Along with these convenient payment options, customers also can pay with FirstEnergy’s popular Equal Payment Plan. Details about these options can be found on the FirstEnergy Web site.